The Holy Eucharist is the sacrament in which Christ is present and is received under the appearances of bread and wine.
At the Last Supper, on the night before he died, Jesus instituted the sacrifice of his Body and Blood in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the ages and as a memorial of his death and resurrection (Luke 22:14-20; 1 Cor. 11:23-26). The Holy Eucharist is the third Sacrament of Initiation.
The essential signs (Matter and Form) of the Eucharistic sacrament are wheat bread and grape wine, on which the blessing of the Holy Spirit is invoked and the priest pronounces the words of consecration spoken by Jesus during the Last Supper: “This is my body which will be given up for you. . .This is the cup of my blood. . .”
Only validly ordained priests can preside at the Eucharist and consecrate the bread and wine so that they become the Body and Blood of the Lord.
Anyone who desires to receive Christ in Eucharistic communion must be in the state of grace, have the right intention, be in observance of the Eucharistic fast. The Church recommends that the faithful receive Holy Communion when they participate in the celebration of the Eucharist; she obliges them to do so at least once a year.
Effects of the Sacrament:
- increases the communicant’s union with the Lord
- forgives venial sins
- preserves from grace sins
- strengthens the unity of the Church
Children are to be prepared for and given the opportunity to receive the sacraments of Holy Communion and Reconciliation on reaching the age of discretion, at which time they become subject to the general norms concerning Reconciliation and Holy Communion. The usual age/grade that children receive these sacraments in St. Joseph Parish is Second Grade. Children who have not received two years of catechesis in preparation for receiving First Holy Communion, or those who have not yet been baptized, are asked to contact the Director of Religious Education to make arrangements for catechesis and reception of the Sacrament.
Click here to view 4-minute movies on the Sacraments.