Eucharist

"This is My Body;...This is My Blood of the Covenant, which will be shed for many." - St. Mark 14:22,24

Mass Schedule at St. Johns
Daily Mass is celebrated Monday through Saturday at 8:00 am
Anticipated Sunday Mass (Saturday Vigil) 4:30 pm
Sunday Mass 8:00 am, 10:15 am, 12:15 pm & 5:30 pm
Holy Days of Obligation:  As Announced!

The Eucharist (CCC 1333)
At the very heart of the Eucharistic celebration are the bread and the wine that, by the words of Christ and the invocation of the Holy Spirit, become Christ's Body and Blood.  Faithful to the Lord's command the Church continues to do, in his memory and until his glorious return, what he did on the eve of his Passion: "He took bread..." "He took the cup filled with wine..."  These signs of bread and wind become, in a way surpassing understanding, the Body and Blood of Christ.
  

What is the Holy Eucharist?

The Holy Eucharist is a sacrament and a sacrifice. In the Holy Eucharist, under the appearances of bread and wine, the Lord Christ is contained, offered, and received.

(a) The whole Christ is really, truly, and substantially present in the Holy Eucharist. We use the words "really, truly, and substantially" to describe Christ's presence in the Holy Eucharist in order to distinguish Our Lord's teaching from that of mere men who falsely teach that the Holy Eucharist is only a sign or figure of Christ, or that He is present only by His power.

(b) All Christians, with but few minor exceptions, held the true doctrine of the Real Presence from the time of Christ until the Protestant Revolution in the sixteenth century.

(c) The word "Eucharist" means "Thanksgiving."

When did Christ institute the Holy Eucharist?

Christ instituted the Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper, the night before He died.

(a) About a year before the Last Supper Our Lord promised to give us the Holy Eucharist. This promise is related in the sixth chapter of the Gospel according to Saint John. The fulfillment of this promise took place at the Last Supper.

Who were present when Our Lord instituted the Holy Eucharist?

When Our Lord instituted the Holy Eucharist the apostles were present.

How did Christ institute the Holy Eucharist?

Christ instituted the Holy Eucharist in this way: He took bread, blessed and broke it, and giving it to His apostles, said: "Take and eat; this is My body;" then He took a cup of wine, blessed it, and giving it to them, said: "All of you drink of this; for this is My blood of the new covenant which is being shed for many unto the forgiveness of sins;" finally, He gave His apostles the commission: "Do this in remembrance of Me."

What happened when Our Lord said: "This is My body . . . this is My blood"? When Our Lord said, "This is My body," the entire substance of the bread was changed into His body; and when He said, "This is My blood," the entire substance of the wine was changed into His blood.

(a) Christ could not have used clearer, more explicit words than "This is My body." He did not say, "This is a sign of My body," or "This represents My body," but, "This is My body." Catholics take Christ at His word because He is the omnipotent God. On His word they know that the Holy Eucharist is the body and blood of Christ.

Did anything of the bread and wine remain after their substance had been changed into Our Lord's body and blood?

After the substance of the bread and wine had been changed into Our Lord's body and blood, there remained only the appearances of bread and wine.

(a) Because the appearances of bread and wine remain in the Holy Eucharist, we cannot see Christ with our bodily eyes in this sacrament. We do see Him, however, with the eyes of faith. Our bodily eyes, moreover, do not deceive us when they see the appearances of bread and wine for these appearances really remain after the Consecration of the Mass.

What do we mean by the appearances of bread and wine?

By the appearances of bread and wine we mean their color, taste, weight, shape, and whatever else appears to the senses.

What is the change of the entire substance of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ called?

The change of the entire substance of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ is called Transubstantiation.

Is Jesus Christ whole and entire both under the appearances of bread and under the appearances of wine?

Jesus Christ is whole and entire both under the appearances of bread and under the appearances of wine.

(a) We know that Christ is whole and entire under both appearances because, "Christ having risen from the dead, dies now no more" (Romans 6:9). Because Christ cannot die, His blood must remain united always to His body, and His soul to both. The divinity of Christ, moreover, always remains united to His body and blood and soul because He is God made man.

(b) The whole Christ is present under each part of the sacred appearances and remains present as long as the sacred appearances remain.

How was Our Lord able to change bread and wine into His body and blood?

Our Lord was able to change bread and wine into His body and blood by His almighty power.

(a) God, who created all things from nothing, who fed the five thousand with five loaves, who changed water into wine instantaneously, who raised the dead to life, can change bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ. Although the Holy Eucharist is a great mystery, and consequently beyond human understanding, the principles of sound reason can show that this great gift is not impossible by the power of God.

Does this change of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ continue to be made in the Church?

This change of bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ continues to be made in the Church by Jesus Christ, through the ministry of His priests.

(a) Only ordained priests have the power of changing bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ. When they consecrate, they act in the person of Christ, through the power received in the sacrament of Holy Orders.

When did Christ give His priests the power to change bread and wine into His body and blood?

Christ gave His priests the power to change bread and wine into His body and blood when He made the apostles priests at the Last Supper by saying to them: "Do this in remembrance of Me."

How do priests exercise their power to change bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ?

Priests exercise their power to change bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ by repeating at the Consecration of the Mass the words of Christ: "This is My body . . . this is the Cup of My blood."

Why does Christ give us His own body and blood in the Holy Eucharist?

Christ gives us His own body and blood in the Holy Eucharist: first, to be offered as a sacrifice commemorating and renewing for all time the sacrifice of the cross; second, to be received by the faithful in Holy Communion; third, to remain ever on our altars as the proof of His love for us, and to be worshipped by us.

  • MASS INTENTIONS:  The Mass is the most powerful of all prayers, it is the official worship of the Church as instituted by the Lord Jesus on the night of the Last Supper.   The faithful may request that a particular Mass have a special intention (usually for a deceased loved one) by arranging it with the parish office.   

PROPER RECEPTION OF HOLY COMMUNION

  • To receive Holy Communion at Mass, one must be properly prepared (a baptized Catholic who has made First Holy Communion) and living in a state of grace.  Catholics who are married outside the Catholic Church are not permitted to receive Holy Communion.   In order to reconcile their marriage (convalidate) they must seek the assistance of a priest or a deacon.   (See section on Convalidations).   Non-Catholics are certainly invited to participate in the celebration of the Mass but are asked to refrain from reception of Holy Communion (since Communion presupposes union with the Church).
  • For practicing Catholics who are eligible to receive Holy Communion, they must be in the state of grace, that is if they are aware of having committed a mortal sin, they must first seek Sacramental forgiveness and absolution in Confession then may receive Communion.   Anyone who receives Communion while aware of a serious sin (i.e. missing Mass on Sunday without serious cause) commits the sin of sacrilege. 
  • For practicing Catholics in the state of grace they must abide by the Eucharistic Fast, this means that Catholics who will be receiving Holy Communion must refrain from food or drink (with the exception of water) for one (1) hour before receiving Communion.   Only those Catholics whose health requires frequent food or drink or for other serious health reasons are exempt from this requirement.  
  • Catholics who are prepared to receive communion and are in the state of grace normally receives communion the tongue (in the United States a communicant may also receive on the hand)

EUCHARISTIC ADORATION

  • Eucharistic Adoration is the Catholic practice of worshipping the Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, even outside the context of the Mass.   Since Jesus remains present, although hidden under the appearance of bread, he desires that we spend time with him in his presence.   The tabernacle is present in the Church allowing the faithful to pay a visit when the Church is open before and after the celebration of the Mass.   Eucharistic exposition is when the Blessed Sacrament is exposed for the faithful to come to worship.   At our parish Adoration of this kind takes place on Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. until 8:00 p.m.   (See section on Adoration for more information).

FIRST HOLY COMMUNION

  • Children who have reached the age of reason as defined by the Church (age 7 or in the 2nd grade) are eligible to make their First Holy Communion.  (See the section on Sacramental Preparation for more information)
  • Adults needing to make their First Holy Communion should inquire at the parish office

MASS IN THE ORDINARY & EXTRAORDINARY FORM

  • Since the end of the Second Vatican Council the Mass has been celebrated in the vernacular (the language of the people) as opposed to Latin, although the Church expects Catholic to be familiar enough with some parts of the Mass in Latin.   This Mass is now refered to as the Mass in the Ordinary Form (formally referred to as the "Novous Ordo" Mass or the Mass of Pope Paul VI).
  • The Mass in the Extraordinary Form (or the Mass as it was celebrated since the 16th Century following the Council of Trent in the late 16th Century) was formally called the "Tridentine Rite" or the "Mass of Pope Pius V".   Today this is known as the Mass in the Extraordinary Form.  On occasion our parish offers Catholics his older form of the Mass to celebrate special days.  (See Mass in Extraordinary Form for schedule)


Etiquette for Attending Mass

For Catholics, the Mass is a very solemn and sacred event in which they are renewed in faith by their encounter with the Real Presence of Jesus Christ and grow as a communion together with the universal Church.   During this sacred moment of prayer it is important to keep a few things in mind when attending Mass:

  1. Please be considerate and arrive in the Church before the Mass begins.  It is considered disrespectful to arrive after the Mass has begun.  The opening and closing of doors, the movement of people to their pews and the distrubing of people to accomodate people arriving late is very distracting to some very important moments in the Mass
  2. Chewing gum is NEVER appropriate in a Church.   Catholics especially who will be receiving communion should never chew gum prior to Mass or even during Mass for they would violate the Eucharist Fast and therefore would not be able to receive communion.  
  3. As in most important moments, cell phones ringing, buzzing or people texting is highly inappropriate.   Please turn off your phones prior to the Mass beginning.   It is NEVER appropriate to answer your phone in the Church or make a call.  Emergencies are obvious exceptions.   
  4. While the Church never imposes a dress code, it is a sign of our interior disposition, that is a sign of how important we consider coming to Mass.   It is not appropriate for men to wear shorts or t-shirts at Mass.  It is also not appropriate for women to dress immodestly.  Men must never wear a hat or cap while women are allowed to wear something covering their heads.  No one should wear sunglasses in the church unless for health reasons.
  5. Please do not eat or drink in the Church.   The only time this happens is in the sacred moment of Holy Communion.
  6. Silence is most appreciated in the Church.   The Church is a House of Prayer, please refrain from carrying conversations in the Church. 
  7. While we always welcome and desire to have children be an active part of our parish community, we ask that parents help to keep children well behaved.   Patience is always afforded to crying infants, but parents are asked to be as curteous as you can be for others trying to pray and listen.  Children should never be allowed to wander around the church, it is appropriate for them to stay with their family.


 

 

 

EUCHARIST LINKS
 

 

Eucharist (by Servant of God Fr. John Hardon)

Eucharistic Adoration
First Holy Communion
Mass Etiquette

Mass in Extraordinary Form

Mass Intentions
Anniversary Masses

Daily Readings for Mass


FAQ about the Eucharist

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