“At the Last Supper, on the night he was betrayed, our Savior instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of his Body and Blood. This he did in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the ages until he should come again, and so to entrust to his beloved Spouse, the Church, a memorial of his death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a Paschal banquet ‘in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us.'” (CCC 1323)
This sacrament is at the heart of our Catholic Faith. It is our greatest blessing from our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. In it he gives us Himself, bread and wine transformed into His Body and Blood, to bring sanctification to the whole human race and to unite us in charity. It is a meal of joyful Thanksgiving and Praise for His great sacrifice, namely suffering, death, and Resurrection. During the Solemn Sacrifice of Mass we experience the Paschal meal of Our Lord that has been relived and reoccurs over and over again at every Mass. We celebrate with reverence and faith, humility and gratitude. This sacrament transforms us to be more like Jesus, causing us to want to be a people who forgive, become reconciled and who walk in solidarity with others. Read what Pope Francis said about weekly Mass here.
When is it time for children to receive Holy Communion? Basically, it is when they express their desire to receive, based on their family’s faithful attendance. They should know it’s not just bread and wine, but the Body & Blood of Jesus that we are receiving. Preparation for children to receive First Holy Communion is done with their parents. Sessions are designed to help attendees understand and celebrate the supreme gift of love Jesus gave us — dying for our sins and rising to new life. Children who have been baptized, completed a year of faith formation or in a Catholic school, and have received First Reconciliation may be formed to receive the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord, Jesus Christ. This generally happens in second grade or higher.
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“The Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life.” “The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch.” (CCC 1324)
“Worship of the Eucharist. In the liturgy of the Mass we express our faith in the real presence of Christ under the species of bread and wine by, among other ways, genuflecting or bowing deeply as a sign of adoration of the Lord. “The Catholic Church has always offered and still offers to the sacrament of the Eucharist the cult of adoration, not only during Mass, but also outside of it, reserving the consecrated hosts with the utmost care, exposing them to the solemn veneration of the faithful, and carrying them in procession.” (CCC1378)