Holy Mass

(Holy Eucharist)

 

Introductory Rites

 

Entrance Song

V. In the name of the Father and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
R. Amen.

V. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy
     Spirit be with you all.
R. And also with you.

V. My brothers and sisters, to prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries, let us
     call to mind our sins.
R. I confess to almighty God, and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through
     my own fault in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done, and in what I have
     failed to do. And I ask blessed Mary, ever virgin, all the angels and saints, and you, my
     brothers wd sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.
V. May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life.
R. Amen.


KYRIE

V. Lord, have mercy.
V. Christ, have mercy.
V. Lord, have mercy.

        

R. Lord, have mercy.
R. Christ, have mercy.
R. Lord, have mercy.


Gloria

Glory to God in the highest, and peace to his people on earth. Lord God, heavenly King, almighty God and Father, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory. Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world, have mercy on us; you are seated at the right hand of the Father, receive our prayer. For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit in the glory of God the Father.
Amen.

Opening Prayer

Liturgy of the Word

First Reading     - Responsorial Psalm

Second Reading - Alleluia

Gospel

V. The Lord be with you.
R. And also with you.
V. A reading from the holy gospel according to...
R. Glory to you, Lord.

V. This is the gospel of the Lord.
R. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

Homily
 
The Profession Of Faith

We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen. We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance the criptures; he ascended into heaven and is seat at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified, he has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the work to come.
Amen.

General Intercessions

Liturgy of the Eucharist

Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation. Through your goodness we have this bread to offer, which earth has given and human hands have made. It will become for us the bread of life.

R. Blessed be God for ever.

Blessed are you, Lord, God of all creation. Through your goodness we have this wine to offer, fruit of the vine and work of human hands. It will become our spiritual drink.

R. Blessed be God for ever.

Pray, brethren, that our sacrifice may be acceptable to God, the almighty Father.

R. May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands for the praise and glory of his name, for
     our good, and the good of all his Church.

Prayer over the Gifts

Amen.

V. The Lord be with you.
R. And also with you.
V. Lift up your hearts.
R. We lift them up to the Lord.
V. Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
R. It's right to give him thanks and praise.

Eucharistic Prayer II

Father, it is our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere to give you thanks through your beloved Son, Jesus Christ. He is the Word thruough whom you made the universe, the Saviour you sent to redeem us. By the power of the Holy Spirit he took flesh and was bom of the Virgin Mary.
For our sake he opened his arms on the cross; he put an end to death and revealed the resurrection. In this he fulfilled your will and won for you a holy people. And so we join the angels and the saints in proclaiming your glory as we sing (say):

Holy, holy, holy Lord. God of power and might. Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Hosanna in the highest. Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. Hosanna in the highest.

Lord, you are holy indeed, the fountain of all holiness. Let your Spirit come upon these gifts to make them holy, so that they may become for us the body + and blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
Before he was given up to death, a death he freely accepted, he took bread and gave you thanks. He broke the bread, gave it to his disciples, and said:

Take this, all of you, and eat it:
This is my body which will be given up for you.

When supper was ended, he took the cup. Again he gave you thanks and praise, gave the cup to his disciples, and said:

Take this, all of you,
and drink from it;
This is the cup of my blood,
the blood of the new and
everlasting covenant.
it will be shed for you
and for all men
so that sins may be forgiven.
do this in memory of me.

V. Let us proclaim the mystery of faith.
R. Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again.

In memory of his death and resurrection, we offer you, Father, this life-giving bread, this saving cup. We thank you for counting us worthy to stand in your presence and serve you.
May all of us who share in the body and blood of Christ be brought together in unity by the Holy Spirit.
Lord, remember your Church throughout the world; make us grow in love, together with N. our Pope, N. our bishop, and all the clergy.
Remember our brothers and sisters who have gone to their rest in the hope of rising again; bring them and all the departed into the light of your presence. Have mercy on us all: make us worthy to share eternal life, with Mary, the virgin mother of God, with the apostles, and with all the saints who have done your will throughout the ages. May we praise you in union with them, and give you glory through your Son, Jesus Christ.

Through him, with him, in him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honour is yours, almighty Father, for ever and ever.
R. Amen.

Rite of Communion

Let us pray with confidence to the Father in the words our Saviour gave us:

Our Father

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; Thy kindgom come; Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
V. Deliver us, Lord, from every evil, and grant us peace in our day. In your mercy keep us
     free from sin and protect us from all anxiety as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of
     our Savior, Jesus Christ.
V. For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever.

Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your apostles: ĞI leave you peace, my peace I give youğ, look not on our sins, but on the faith of your Church, and grant us the peace and unity of your kingdom where you live for ever and ever.
R. Amen.

V. The peace of the Lord be with you always.
R. And also with you.

Agnus Dei

Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.
Lamb of God, you take away the sins of the world, grant us peace.

V. This is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Happy are those who are
     called to his supper.
R. Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.

V. The body of Christ.
R. Amen.

Prayer after Communion

Concluding Rite

V. The Lord be with you.
R. And also with you.
V. May almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
R. Amen.
V. Go in the peace of Christ.
R. Thanks be to God.

 

 

WHAT DOES OUR FAITH TEACH US ABOUT THE EUCHARIST?

Our faith teaches us that what we proclaim in the Eucharist, Christ's
death and resurrection, is also made present in that very action by the
power of God's love and goodness. This is the heart of our faith in the
sacrament we call the Eucharist, the holy sacrifice of the Mass, the
real presence of Christ.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE WAYS IN WHICH THE EUCHARIST IS DESCRIBED?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church begins the article on the Eucharist
with a reflection on the names by which the sacrament is identified.
Here we read that each name "evokes certain aspects" of the sacrament.
It is called "Eucharist because it is an action of thanksgiving to God"
(1328). It is sometimes referred to as "the Breaking of Bread" because
Jesus used this rite, above all, at the Last Supper (1329). The
Eucharist is also called "the memorial of the Lord's passion and
resurrection...the Holy Sacrifice" because it makes present the one
sacrifice of Christ the Savior and includes the Church's offering
(1330).

WHY IS THE EUCHARIST SO IMPORTANT TO THE CHURCH?

The Eucharist is at the heart of the Church's life. In the celebration
of this mystery of faith, Christ himself is present to his people. Rich
in symbolism and richer in reality, the Eucharist bears within itself
the whole reality of Christ and mediates his saving work to us. In
short, when the Church gathers in worship of God and offers the
Eucharistic sacrifice, not only is Christ really and truly present under
the appearance of bread and wine, but he also continues his saving work
of our salvation.

WHAT DOES THE EUCHARIST TRULY MAKE PRESENT?

In the Eucharist, Jesus has instituted the sacrament in which the very
passion, death and resurrection he would undergo would be made present
again in our lives in a way that enables us to share in the benefits of
the cross. We speak of our dying to sin and rising to new life because
we participate in the mystery of Jesus' death and resurrection. The
Church uses the word "re-present" (make present again) to speak of what
is happening in the Mass. The term "holy sacrifice" of the Mass is also
exact because sacramentally the death and resurrection of Jesus is once
again made present. The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the
Eucharist are one single sacrifice.

WHEN AND WHY WAS THE EUCHARIST INSTITUTED?

With great clarity, the Second Vatican Council's Constitution on the
Sacred Liturgy teaches:
"At the Last Supper, on the night he was betrayed, our Savior instituted
the Eucharistic sacrifice of his body and blood. He did this to
perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the centuries 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 received,
the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future life is given to
us" (SC 47).

WHAT IS THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE EUCHARIST AND THE LAST SUPPER?

The origins of the Eucharist are found in the Last Supper. The Catechism
teaches us that "in order to leave them a pledge of this love, in order
never to depart from his own and to make them sharers in his Passover,
he instituted the Eucharist as the memorial of his death and
resurrection, and commanded his apostles to celebrate it until his
return; 'thereby he constituted them priests of the New Testament'"
(1337). In the context of the Last Supper Jesus instituted a new
memorial sacrifice. As a perpetual memorial to his death and
Resurrection, in the course of the Passover meal with his apostles, he
took the bread "blessed and broke it and gave it to his disciples and
said 'Take, eat, this is my body'" (Matt. 26.26). In like manner he took
the ceremonial cup of wine "gave thanks and passed it to his disciples
saying 'this cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my
blood'" (Lk. 22.20). Finally, he commanded them:
"Do this in remembrance of me" (1 Cor. 11.24).

Like the Passover meal, this memorial sacrifice of the new law is both
sacrifice and sacred meal. Both aspects remain inseparably a part of the
same mystery. In an unbloody re-presentation of the sacrifice of the
cross and in application of its saving power, the Lord is offered in the
sacrifice of the Mass when through the words of consecration and the
outpouring of the Holy Spirit, Christ is present in a sacramental form
under the appearance of bread and wine to become the spiritual food of
the faithful.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN THAT JESUS DIED ONCE AND FOR ALL?

It is true that there is only one sacrifice-the self-giving of Christ on
the cross at Calvary. Once and for all Jesus, who was the victim for our
sins, offered himself up for our redemption.  "Therefore he is the
mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the
promise of eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred which redeems
them from the transgressions under the first covenant" (Heb. 9.15).
This one great sacrifice was accomplished by Jesus, the priest and
victim, who offered himself on the altar of the cross for our
redemption. This sacrifice need not and cannot be repeated, but it can
be re-presented so that we are able, sacramentally and spiritually, to
enter it and draw spiritual nourishment from it. While it is true that
we cannot be physically present at Calvary, there is a real, sacramental
and spiritual sense in which we are present as we participate in the
Eucharist since the merit obtained for us through the death of Jesus is
applied to us in what we call the paschal mystery --- passover from
death to life.

HOW LONG HAVE CHRISTIANS CELEBRATED THE EUCHARIST AS WE DO?

One of the most intriguing aspects of the celebration of the Eucharist
is the fact that it has changed so little over twenty centuries. The
essential elements are found in the narrative of the institution of the
Eucharist as recorded in the gospels. The liturgical structure of that
celebration developed very rapidly in the early life of the Church as we
see in Saint Paul's first letter to the Corinthians (1Cor.11.26) and the
essential elements have remained unchanged. Even in many of the details,
we find in the celebration of the liturgy today an identity with what
went before us for so many centuries.

As we learn in the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, the Church
has always taken Christ's command to prepare the large furnished room
where he would celebrate the Passover meal with them and institute the
sacrifice of his body and blood (Mk. 14:12-16; Mt. 26:17-19; Lk.
22:7-13) as bearing on its own responsibility to give directions
concerning the preparation of the minds of the worshippers and the
place, rites and text of the celebration of the holy Eucharist. The
norms that are used in the missal for the celebration of the Mass
according to the Roman Rite "are fresh evidence of the great care,
faith, and unchanged love that the Church shows toward the Eucharist"
(General Instruction, Introduction, 1).

WHAT HISTORICAL EVIDENCE EXISTS FOR THE CELEBRATION OF THE EUCHARIST IN THE EARLY CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY?

On speaking about the continuity of the celebration of the liturgy today
with the most ancient forms, the Catechism holds up for examination the
text of Saint Justin Martyr, who lived in the second century of the
Christian era: "As early as the second century we have the witness of
Saint Justin Martyr for the basic lines of the order of the Eucharistic
celebration. They have stayed the same until our own day for all the
great liturgical families" (1345). Today the order of Mass calls upon
the priest who will preside and the community with whom he will
celebrate to come together, especially and particularly on Sunday. This
is the day that commemorates the resurrection of Christ and is therefore
for Christians the Lord's day, our holy day, the time to celebrate the
memorial of his death and resurrection that Christ asked us to do in his
memory.

WHAT IS MEANT BY THE LITURGY OF THE WORD IN THE CELEBRATION OF THE EUCHARIST?

The liturgy is divided into two parts: the liturgy of the word and the
liturgy of the Eucharist. On Sundays and solemn feast days there are
three readings. The usual pattern is one reading from the Old Testament;
one from the Acts, the Letters or the Book of Revelation; and the third
is always from one of the four gospels. On the weekday celebration there
are normally two readings. The first is from either the Old Testament or
the New Testament (other than the gospels); the second is from one of
the gospels. St. Justin writes, "The memoirs of the apostles and the
writings of the prophets are read, as much as time permits" (1345).

In the instruction for the celebration of the Eucharist today, we read
"When the Scriptures are read in the Church, God himself is speaking to
his people, and Christ, present in his own word, is proclaiming the
Gospel" (General Instruction, Chapter Two, 9).

A significant integral part of the celebration of the liturgy of the
word is the homily or commentary by the priest on the readings or some
other element of the faith and life of the Church. Since so much in our
culture changes rapidly, it is essential that the teaching of Christ be
applied to circumstances of our day in a way that allows the believer to
see the full implications of his or her profession of faith. The general
instruction tells us "the homily, as an integral part of the liturgy,
increases the word's effectiveness" (Chapter Two, 9).

At this point in the liturgy, the creed is recited as a summary
profession of our faith acknowledging what we have read as the word of
God and announcing our adherence to the teaching of Christ and the
profession of his Church so that we can proceed to celebrate worthily
the Eucharist. The priest then invites the faithful to offer their
prayers for the needs of the Church, the community and their personal
concerns. This is called the prayer of the faithful.

WHAT IS MEANT BY THE LITURGY OF THE EUCHARIST?

The Liturgy of the Eucharist is the very heart of the Mass. Using one of
the approved Eucharistic prayers, the priest prays over the gifts, asks
the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon them, recites the narrative of
consecration, elevates the host and cup for the faithful to reverence
and proceeds to call to mind the passion, resurrection and glorious
return of the Lord Jesus. In this sacred, sacramental action the bread
and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ and we, through our
participation in this mystery of faith, share spiritually in Jesus'
death and resurrection. Saint Justin describes this great prayer of
thanksgiving and then notes "when he has concluded the prayers and
thanksgivings, all present give voice to an acclamation by saying:
'Amen.'"

In describing the liturgy of the Eucharist, the Catechism tells us that
"We carry out this command of the Lord by celebrating the memorial of
his sacrifice. In so doing, we offer to the Father what he has himself
given us: the gifts of his creation, bread and wine which, by the power
of the Holy Spirit and by the words of Christ, have become the body and
blood of Christ. Christ is thus really and mysteriously made present"
(1357).
Then comes the communion of the Body and Blood of Christ. We read in the
General Instruction that at this point in the Mass "the priest then
shows the Eucharistic bread for communion to the faithful and with them
recites the prayer of humility in words from the Gospels. It is most
desirable that the faithful receive the Lord's body from hosts
consecrated at the same Mass and that, in the instances when it is
permitted, they share in the chalice. Then even through the signs
communion will stand out more clearly as a sharing in the sacrifice
actually being offered" (Chapter Two, 56 g, h).

If we turn to the Catechism we read that "Holy Communion augments our
union with Christ." The principal fruit of receiving the Eucharist in
Holy Communion is an intimate union with Christ Jesus. Indeed, the Lord
said: "He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in
him" (Jn. 6.56). Life in Christ has its foundation in the Eucharistic
banquet: "As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the
Father, so he who eats me will live because of me" (Jn. 6.57 ) (1391).

WHAT IS MEANT BY CHRIST'S REAL PRESENCE IN THE EUCHARIST?

The faith of the Church concerning the real presence of Jesus in the
Eucharist under the appearances of bread and wine is traced back to the
words of Jesus himself as recorded in the gospel of Saint John. In the
Eucharistic discourse after the multiplication of the loaves our Lord
contrasted ordinary bread with a bread that is not of this world but
which contains eternal life for those who eat it. He said: "I am the
bread of life . . . I am the living bread which came down from heaven;
if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever and the bread which I
shall give for the life of the world is my flesh" (Jn. 6.48, 51).

What Jesus offers us is his continuing, enduring presence every time we
celebrate the Eucharist.  The bread and wine become his body and his
blood. "This is my body . . . this is the cup of my blood."

The way in which Jesus is present in the Eucharist cannot be explained
in physical terms because it transcends the ordinary necessities of
space and measurement. It is a supernatural mystery that the person who
becomes fully present at Mass is the same Risen Savior who is seated at
the right hand of the Father. In becoming present sacramentally,
Christ's condition does not change. He does not have to leave heaven to
become present on earth.

WHAT IS MEANT BY TRANSUBSTANTIATION?

In explaining this doctrine of the faith the Catechism quotes the
Council of Trent as it summarized our Catholic belief. "Because Christ
our Redeemer said that it was truly his body that he was offering under
the species of bread, it has always been the conviction of the Church of
God, and this holy Council now declares again, that by the consecration
of the bread and wine there takes place a change of the whole substance
of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and of
the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood.  This
change the holy Catholic Church has fittingly and properly called
transubstantiation" (1376).

WHY IS THE EUCHARIST KEPT IN THE TABERNACLE?

The real presence endures after the celebration of the Eucharistic
liturgy. It is for this reason that there is a tabernacle in Church.
Once communion has been distributed, the remaining hosts are placed in
the tabernacle to provide viaticum for those who turn to the Church in
their final hour and also to provide a focal point for prayer and
worship of Christ in his real presence.

With the passage of time, reverent reflection led the Church to enrich
its Eucharistic devotion.  Faith that Jesus is truly present in the
sacrament led believers to worship Christ dwelling with us permanently
in the sacrament. Wherever the sacrament is, there is Christ who is our
Lord and our God; hence he is ever to be worshipped in this mystery.
Such worship is expressed in many ways: in genuflections, in adoration
of the Eucharist and in the many forms of Eucharistic devotion that
faith has nourished.

The popularity of the feast of Corpus Christi (The Body and Blood of
Christ), with its joyful hymns and public processions, encouraged
further development of Eucharistic devotions. At times the Blessed
Sacrament is removed from the tabernacle in which it is ordinarily kept
and placed upon the altar for adoration. These periods of exposition are
sometimes extended into holy hours. Enjoying particular popularity is
the parish tradition of a Eucharistic day or days (e.g. Forty Hours
devotion) with exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and a homily calling
particular attention to this glorious, divine gift. At the conclusion of
such devotions the congregation is blessed with the Eucharist. This
blessing is known as Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO PREPARE MYSELF TO RECEIVE THE EUCHARIST?

To respond to the Lord's invitation to eat his flesh and drink his
blood, the believer must be prepared. Saint Paul urges us to examine our
conscience. "Whoever therefore eats the bread or drinks the cup of the
Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the Body and
Blood of the Lord" (1 Cor. 11.27). Before we approach the table of the
Lord it is important to reflect on our life, ask God's forgiveness for
our failings and if necessary, due to serious sin, to avail ourselves of
sacramental confession.

Recent polls indicate that a significant number of Catholics do not have
a complete understanding of the Eucharist and specifically the real
presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. Whatever the cause of such
misunderstanding of the faith, all who approach the table of the Lord
need to recognize the significance of their action and the importance of
their spiritual preparation. It sometimes becomes the task of older
members of the family, especially parents, to review with the younger
ones what is happening at Mass and who we receive in holy communion.
Grandparents have in some instances a unique and privileged role as a
teacher of the faith in an age where the awareness of the real presence
seems to be diminished.

HOW SHOULD I PREPARE MYSELF TO RECEIVE THE EUCHARIST?

In a tradition that is enjoying a resurgence in many parishes a number
of people are once again coming to church early to prepare themselves
quietly for the spiritual experience of the Eucharistic Liturgy and the
reception of our Lord in communion. This is one small practice that each
of us can adopt as a way of strengthening our own faith and appreciating
more deeply the mystery we are invited to enter as we approach the
presence of God with us in the Eucharist.  Those few minutes of quiet
preparation have the spiritual effect of making our heart "an avenue for
the Lord." All it takes is a little time to recollect our thoughts,
recall what we are doing and thank God for the real presence of Jesus
Christ in the Eucharist.

IS EVERYONE PERMITTED TO RECEIVE THE EUCHARIST?

Often at weddings, funerals and other religious occasions where those
who do not share our faith are present, there is the temptation among
those present to try to avoid any type of awkwardness by inviting
non-Catholics to receive the Eucharist. Those who are not in full
communion with the Church, however, are not permitted to participate at
the table of the Lord as if they were full members, sharers in the full
sacramental life of the Church. Reception of communion creates the
public perception that the one receiving the Lord is in full unity with
the Catholic Church. The guidelines for the reception of communion
approved by the United States Bishops are found at the end of these
reflections.

To help both Catholics and those who do not share our faith respond
appropriately, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops has issued
guidelines for receiving holy communion. These remind Catholics of the
need to be properly disposed, to maintain a fast for at least one hour
before reception of holy communion and to seek to live in charity and
love with their neighbors.  For other Christians, the text points out
that "it is a consequence of the sad divisions of Christianity that we
cannot extend to them a general invitation to receive communion.
Catholics believe that the Eucharist is an action of the celebrating
community signifying a oneness in faith, life and worship of the
community. Reception of the Eucharist by Christians not fully united
with us would imply a oneness which does not yet exist and for which we
must all pray."

HOW DOES THE EUCHARIST MAKE US GOD'S PEOPLE?

Just as individually we are brought into union with Christ through our
participation in the paschal mystery and our share in the consecrated
bread and wine, so the Church as the new people of God comes to be in
its celebration of the Eucharist. We are a people made one with Christ
and one with each other precisely in the Eucharist. It is for this
reason that the Catechism teaches "the Eucharist is the efficacious sign
and sublime cause of that communion in the divine life and that unity of
the People of God by which the Church is kept in being" (1325).

WHY SHOULD I ATTEND MASS AND RECEIVE THE EUCHARIST?

Since we are constituted God's family-God's people-his Church-precisely
by our participation in the Eucharist, we cannot grow into Christ's new
body as a healthy and full member without sharing in the Eucharist. On
each Sunday, which is a commemoration of the day Jesus rose from the
dead, the faithful come together not only to profess the faith but also
to renew the life of Christ within them. Not as individuals isolated
from each other and related only to God but precisely as God's family
interrelated to each other and through the Church related to God do we
gather-made one in the Eucharist.

For this reason the Church calls upon believers to celebrate the great
gift of God with us in the Eucharist every Sunday. To absent one's self
from the Sunday Eucharist is to diminish one's own spiritual life-one's
own communion with Christ's new body, the Church. We celebrate Eucharist
as a faith family-as the Church-on Sunday because it is here that we
find our identity, our unity and our very being as members of Christ'
body, members of his Church.

SOME CONCLUDING THOUGHTS

In concluding its teaching on the Eucharist, the Catechism reminds us
that it is also "the pledge of the glory to come." "There is no surer
pledge or clearer sign of this great hope in the new heavens and new
earth 'in which righteousness dwells' than the Eucharist" (1405). The
Catechism closes with reference to Saint Ignatius of Antioch, "Every
time this mystery is celebrated, 'the work of our redemption is carried
on' and we 'break the one bread that provides the medicine of
immortality, the antidote for death, and the food that makes us live
forever in Jesus Christ'" (1405).

Our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, in his beautiful apostolic
exhortation The Church in America teaches us: "The Eucharist is the
outstanding moment of encounter with the Living Christ. For this reason,
by their preaching and catechesis, the Pastors of the People of God in
America must strive to give the Sunday Eucharist celebration new
strength, as the source and summit of the Church's life, the safeguard
of communion in the Body of Christ and an invitation to solidarity
expressing the Lord's commandment: 'Love one another as I have loved
you'" (Jn 13.34) (35). His words should help all of us, bishops,
priests, deacons, men and women in consecrated life and faithful lay
women and lay men, to renew our commitment to thank God for the
extraordinary gift of Jesus' presence in the Eucharist.

Guidelines for the Reception of Communion

On November 14, 1996, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops
approved the following guidelines on the reception of communion. The
guidelines seek to remind all those who may attend Catholic liturgies of
the present discipline of the Church with regard to the sharing of
Eucharistic communion.

For Catholics

As Catholics, we fully participate in the celebration of the Eucharist
when we receive Holy Communion. We are encouraged to receive Communion
devoutly and frequently. In order to be properly disposed to receive
Communion, participants should not be conscious of grave sin and
normally should have fasted for one hour. A person who is conscious of
grave sin is not to receive the Body and Blood of the Lord without prior
sacramental confession except for a grave reason where there is no
opportunity for confession. In this case, the person is to be mindful of
the obligation to make an act of perfect contrition, including the
intention of confessing as soon as possible (canon 916). A frequent
reception of the Sacrament of Penance is encouraged for all.

For our fellow Christians

We welcome our fellow Christians to this celebration of the Eucharist as
our brothers and sisters. We pray that our common baptism and the action
of the Holy Spirit in this Eucharist will draw us closer to one another
and begin to dispel the sad divisions which separate us. We pray that
these will lessen and finally disappear, in keeping with Christ's prayer
for us "that they may all be one" (Jn. 17:21).

Because Catholics believe that the celebration of the Eucharist is a
sign of the reality of the oneness of faith, life, and worship, members
of those churches with whom we are not yet fully united are ordinarily
not admitted to Holy Communion. Eucharistic sharing in exceptional
circumstances by other Christians requires permission according to the
directives of the diocesan bishop and the provisions of canon law (canon
844 Section 4). Members of the Orthodox Churches, the Assyrian Church of
the East, and the Polish National Catholic Church are urged to respect
the discipline of their own Churches. According to Roman Catholic
discipline, the Code of Canon Law does not object to the reception of
communion by Christians of these Churches (canon 844 Section 3).

For those not receiving Holy Communion

All who are not receiving Holy Communion are encouraged to express in
their hearts a prayerful desire for unity with the Lord Jesus and with
one another.

For non-Christians

We also welcome to this celebration those who do not share our faith in
Jesus Christ. While we cannot admit them to Holy Communion, we ask them
to offer their prayers for the peace and the unity of the human family.

 

 

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