THE SACRAMENT OF THE EUCHARIST (HOLY COMMUNION)
"The Eucharist is the heart and the summit of the Church's life, for in it Christ associates his Church and all her members with his sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving offered once for all on the cross to his Father; by this sacrifice he pours out the graces of salvation on his Body which is the Church" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1407).
"It is Christ himself, the eternal high priest of the New Covenant who, acting through the ministry of the priests, offers the Eucharistic sacrifice. And it is the same Christ, really present under the species of bread and wine, who is the offering of the Eucharistic sacrifice" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1410).
Jesus instituted the Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper while celebrating the Passover meal with his apostles. The gift of the Holy Eucharist makes Jesus present to us today and every day. He did not abandon us, rather he gave us the Church in whose authority priests and bishops consecrate the unleavened bread and wine at the Mass by which it becomes the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus. Through this miracle the same Jesus who was crucified and rose from the dead may be received by Catholics today.
The grace of this sacrament provides supernatural food for the soul to strengthen and nourish the faithful as they seek greater union with Christ in their daily life. Each time Catholics receive Holy Communion, they have an opportunity to grow in holiness through their openness to the graces offered in this encounter with Jesus. Holy Communion:
Increases our union with Christ and with his Church.
It preserves and renews the life of grace received at Baptism and Confirmation.
It makes us grow in love for our neighbour.
It strengthens us in charity
BISHOP BARRON ON "THE SACRAMENT OF THE EUCHARIST AS REAL PRESENCE"
Catholics believe that the presence of Jesus remains in the consecrated host and Precious Blood as long as they remain unconsumed and intact. For this reason, all of the Precious Blood is consumed during the Mass. Any remaining hosts are placed in the tabernacle, a beautiful box that reminds us of the tabernacle of the Old Testament where God visited his people. Today, Jesus has given us a wonderful gift in his enduring presence in the Holy Eucharist and invites us to visit him often to find peace in his presence and give him our adoration and thanks. Every Saturday morning at 11.00am, the Holy Eucharist is displayed for further adoration.
The Holy Eucharist is also taken to the sick or homebound who are not able to attend Mass. This is only possible because of the gift of Christ’s abiding presence.
Children ordinarily prepare to receive First Holy Communion around the ages of 7-8 (year 3). Part of the process includes preparation for First Penance (Confession).
First Holy Communion is celebrated in the Parish each year in June. The programme is aimed at children from our Parish in year 3 at school, or slightly older. Parents are invited to attend a meeting in November to enrol their children and to receive details about it. Saturday morning sessions are held from January to May and take place in the Church and in the Parish Centre. The Sacrament of First Reconciliation, which is a part of the programme, is administered in March.
Adults who have not yet been baptized or those who were baptized in another Christian tradition prepare for First Holy Communion through the RCIA process.