The Holy Eucharist

The Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist

The word Eucharist comes from the Greek word meaning "thanksgiving." It is through the Eucharist, offered in the Mass and received in Holy Communion, that we give supreme thanks to our Lord Jesus Christ. Just as the life of the Church revolves around the Sacraments, so the Sacraments themselves revolve around the Eucharist. For this reason the Eucharist is also called "the Blessed Sacrament."

The Sacraments are signs that really accomplish what they signify. The Eucharist, therefore, is not simply symbol of the presence of Jesus; rather, we receive Jesus Himself, Who is really and truly present in the Eucharistic species, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity. In the Mass the priest, through the action of the Holy Spirit and the grace granted by his ordination, transforms the essence of the offered bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus (this is called transubstantiation).

In the Gospels and in Saint Paul's first letter to the Corinthians, we read that the Eucharist was instituted at the Last Supper. During the supper Jesus broke bread and gave it to His Apostles, saying, "This is My Body, that is for you." After the supper He passed a communal cup (calix) of wine, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My Blood." This action was the fulfillment of the covenants in the Hebrew religion; what was prefigured in the Passover and the Day of Atonement was fully realized in the sacrifice of Christ--a sacrifice that continues to be offered in every Mass.  

Receiving the Eucharist changes us. It both signifies and effects the unity of the whole mystical Body of Christ, to the Head and to all the members, and serves to strengthen the entire Church.

As children reach the age of reason--generally around age seven--the Church extends to them an invitation to receive the Sacrament of the Eucharist. The initiation into the Christian community that took place at Baptism is thus furthered by inviting the baptized to enter fully into the heart of Christian faith through participation in the Holy Communion. All persons who have received their First Holy Communion may receive the Eucharist at Mass throughout their lives, unless in a state of mortal sin.

In our Collaborative the Mass is offered every day, including multiple times on Sunday; see the Mass schedule page for times and locations. Additionally, Eucharistic Adoration is offered on First Fridays from 12:00-2:00 p.m. at Most Precious Blood Church.

What is Eucharistic Adoration?

Eucharistic Adoration, also known as Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, is a custom of honoring the Holy Eucharist outside of Mass, by solemnly exposing the Sacred Host (i.e., the consecrated bread) to the view of the faithful, in order that they may pay their devotions before It, and also engage in prayer or meditation in the presence of Christ. Originating from the centuries-old custom of "visiting" the Lord at church tabernacles, paying devotion to the exposed Eucharist has become a liturgical act of worship in its own right.

Some parishes, such as those in our Collaborative have certain periods set aside for Eucharistic Adoration. Others may have a chapel or shrine set aside for perpetual Adoration, where the Blessed Sacrament is always exposed, 24 hours a day. In Boston, the designated Eucharistic Shrine is Saint Clement's Chapel on Boylston Street in the Back Bay. Additionally, our neighbor parish, Saint Mary of the Assumption in Dedham, offers perpetual Adoration in Saint Jospeh's Chapel.

Eucharistic Adoration at Most Precious Blood Church

Eucharistic Adoration at Most Precious Blood Church

 

Intinction

After the Second Vatican Council, we were allowed to receive the Body of Christ in our hands and to drink from the cup. Also introduced was Communion by intinction (i.e., dipping the Host into the Precious Blood). Intinction was a short-lived practice and is no longer allowed. There are two reasons for this: first, the possibility of spilling the Precious Blood is significantly increased; second, the priest already places a piece of the Host into the chalice during the Fraction Rite (i.e., breaking of the bread). Additionally, we should recall that each of the Eucharistic speicies--the Sacred Host and the Precious Blood--contains the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, whole and entire.


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