In its Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Vatican II begins chapter 2, "The Most Sacred Mystery of the Eucharist," with these words: "At the Last Supper, on the night when he was betrayed, our Savior instituted the eucharistic sacrifice of his Body and Blood. He did this in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the Cross throughout the centuries until he should come again, and in this way to entrust to his beloved Bride, 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 eaten, the heart is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us".
This mystery is the very center and culmination of Catholic life. It is the source and the summit of all preaching of the Gospel and the center of the assembly of the faithful. In every Mass, Christ is present under the form of bread and wine as well as present in each of us. In every Mass, his death becomes a present reality, offered as our sacrifice to God in an unbloody and sacramental manner. At Mass we offer Christ, our passover sacrifice, to God, and we offer ourselves along with him. We then receive the risen Lord, our bread of life, in Holy Communion. In doing so, we enter into the very core of the paschal mystery of our salvation, the death and resurrection of Christ.
Eating the supper of the Lord, we span all time and "proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes" (Corinthians 11:26). Sharing this banquet of love, we become totally one body in him. At that moment our future with God becomes a present reality. The oneness for which we are destined is both symbolized and made real in the meal we share. In the Mass, both past and future become really present in the mystery.
The sacrament of the Eucharist was entrusted by Christ to his bride, the Church, as spiritual nourishment and as a pledge of eternal life. The Church continues to receive this gift with faith and love.
First Holy Communion Preparation
The First Holy Communion program is an opportunity for families to reflect together on their experience of Eucharist and to prepare children for a deeper level of participation. Parents teach their children because home is the primary place for faith formation. While the home is the most natural place for reflection on the presence of Christ in our midst we offer a two-year program for our First Holy Communion candidates that is structured in the traditional in-class setting. The recommended age for First Eucharist is second grade.
The following are some criteria to help you determine whether your child should prepare for First Eucharist:
- Has your child been participating in Sunday Mass on a regular basis?
- Has your child been participating in religious education classes through Catholic school or the parish religious education programs?
- Is your child beginning to know the responses and prayers at Mass?
- Is prayer a regular part of your child's life?
- Does your child exhibit the capacity for reverence that is necessary for sharing in the eucharistic banquet?
For more information about the Sacramental program here in the parish please visit the Religious Education page.