“For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Those who eat my flesh and drink my blood abide in me and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever eats me will live because of me.”
Eucharist - FAQs
Yes! According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “at the heart of the Eucharistic celebration are the bread and wine that, by the words of Christ and the invocation of the Holy Spirit, become Christ's Body and Blood” (CCC 1333). It might not look or taste like it, but Christ tells us that the Eucharist is His Body and Blood. There are also many Eucharistic miracles that point to this truth of our faith.
If you have been away from the Church (i.e. away from the regular practice of the Catholic faith and attendance at Sunday Mass) or are not in a state of grace (free of any serious sins), the Church instructs that you receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation before receiving the Eucharist. This is to ensure not only the dignity of the Sacrament, but also to ensure worthy reception on the part of the individual seeking communion with God.
The Church still teaches that part of the proper preparation for the reception of Holy Communion includes abstaining for at least one hour before receiving the Eucharist from any food or drink, excepting only water and medicine.
To receive the Sacrament of the Eucharist, you must be a Catholic free from mortal sin. As the Church teaches that each species (i.e. Body or Blood) of the Eucharist contains the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ, it is only necessary that one species be received in order to receive the Sacrament.
Practically speaking, the Church permits reception of the Body of Christ in the hand or on the tongue. If receiving in the hand, you should open your hands in such a way as to receive the host on your palm; the host must not be grasped or taken from the minister of Holy Communion. The host is then to be consumed immediately; under no circumstances should the host be fractioned or reserved (excepting when taken in a pyx to a member of the faithful who is unable to participate in the communal celebration of the Mass).
If receiving on the tongue, whether standing or kneeling, please hold your tongue out with your head slightly back in order to ensure that the minister is able to place the host properly in your mouth. Please do not lunge forward as you are receiving.
If you desire to receive the Blood of Christ, the Eucharistic Minister will hand the chalice to you; please receive slowly so as not to spill the Precious Blood.
After the invocation of the Eucharistic Minister (“The Body of Christ” or “The Blood of Christ”), the faithful are instructed to respond “Amen” in order to affirm their belief in all that the Catholic Church professes, summarily contained in this Sacrament of Unity.
Catholics are required to receive Communion at least once a year, especially during the Easter season. To prevent a superstitious understanding of grace and therefore any abuse of the Sacrament, it is not permitted for a Catholic to receive more often than twice per day, observing the necessary communion fast required before each reception of the Sacrament.
The Church understands the Sunday Eucharist to be the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice. It is here that the Christian participates in the truest Sabbath rest, the heavenly worship of God alongside His angels and saints. For this reason, the faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist every Sunday and Holy Day of Obligation, unless excused for a serious reason (i.e. illness) or by dispensation of their pastor.
While obliged to participate in the Mass each Sunday and Holy Day, the faithful are not obliged to receive Holy Communion. Those who are indisposed to receive the Eucharist (because of grave sin, not having observed the fast, or for personal reasons) still have an obligation to attend Mass and to seek reconciliation whenever possible. The precepts of the Church require Catholics to receive the Eucharist (at least) once per year, preferably during the Easter season.
Catholics are also obliged by the precepts of the Church to attend holy days of obligation—days meant to celebrate important moments in the life of the Church, our Lord, and the Blessed Mother. Where these obligations fall on Sunday, the normal Sunday obligation is assumed. In the US, holy days that may fall outside of the normal Sunday obligation include:
Holy Mary the Mother of God (January 1)
The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (August 15)
The Feast of All Saints (November 1)
Immaculate Conception (December 8)
Christmas (December 25)
On occasion, when a holy day occurs on a Monday, the obligation to attend Mass may be lifted for that day.
It has long been the practice of the Church to apply the infinite graces of the Mass to the intentions of the members of the faithful. Generally, the one offering the intention is asked to provide an offering (i.e. “Mass stipend”), usually $10, as a sign of their participation in that offering, as well as to contribute to the good of the Church and to share in the support of the Church’s ministers and Her works. Those who are earnestly unable to provide this offering may nevertheless request an intention to be offered.
If you desire to have a Mass offered for a living or deceased relative or another intention related to the good of the faithful, you may contact the Parish Office at 217-522-3342.