As Catholics, we believe the Eucharist, or the Holy Mass, is both a sacrifice and a meal, bearing the real presence of Jesus, who died for our sins. As we receive Christ's Body and Blood, we are also nourished spiritually and brought closer to God.
The Eucharist (from the Greek word eucharistia 'thanksgiving') is the sacrament of the body and blood in Christ in which He is present under the forms of bread and wine offering Himself in the sacrifice of the Holy Mass and giving Himself as spiritual food to the faithful. At the Last Supper, the Lord instituted the eucharistic sacrifice of his body and blood. He did this in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the ages until He should come again, and so to entrust to the Church a memorial of his death and resurrection. The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life.
- As Catholics, we fully participate in the celebration of the Eucharist when we receive Holy Communion.
- We are encouraged to receive Holy Communion devoutly and frequently. In order to be properly disposed to receive Holy 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 Christ without prior sacramental Confession, except for a grave reason where there is no opportunity to get to 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 (Code of Canon Law, Canon 916). A frequent reception of the sacrament of Confession is encouraged for all.
For those who are interested in Becoming Catholic, First Holy Communion is part of the Rite of Christian Adult Initiation (RCIA).
For those who are not yet of adult age, making First Holy Communion is available for younger Catholics through our Religious Education Program.
Jesus said: "I am the living bread that came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live fore ever;...he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and... abides in me, and I in him" (Jn 6:51, 54, 56).