The name for the sacrament of Eucharist comes for the Greek word meaning giving thanks to God. The sacrament of Eucharist was instituted by Jesus at the Last Supper when, on the night he was betrayed, he broke the bread and, giving thanks, broke it, and gave it to his disciples and likewise took the chalice and, giving thanks, gave it to his disciples.
When he instituted the sacrament of Eucharist, Jesus commanded his disciples to celebrate this sacrificial meal, which celebrates his death and resurrection, until he returns in glory.
Catholics also refer to the Eucharist as the Blessed Sacrament, for we believe that once the priest says the words instituted by Christ and invokes the Holy Spirit, the bread and wine become Christ’s body and blood. Because of our belief that the bread and wine are changed into the body and blood of Christ, Catholics refer to this change as ‘transubstantiation.’
Our belief in Christ’s real presence in the Eucharist places it above all the sacraments. According to the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, it is the ‘source and summit of our Catholic faith.”
Other name for the sacrament of Eucharist is Holy Communion. It refers to our belief that when we partake of the Eucharist we untie ourselves to Christ, who makes us sharers in his body and blood to form a single body.
Receiving Holy Communion
Usually Catholics first receive first Holy Communion in the second grade, which the church considers the age of reason. Faith formation for receiving the sacrament of Eucharist is part of the curriculum of our parish Faith Formation program and The Divine Redeemer Catholic School, Ford City.
Children must regularly attend either our parish Faith Formation program or The Divine Redeemer Catholic School in order to be properly prepared and eligible to receive the sacrament of Eucharist.
For Catholics, the celebration of the Eucharist is at the heart and center of our spiritual life and journey of faith. Catholics who are free from serious sin and have observed an hour fast, may receive this sacrament during the celebration of Mass.
Out of sacred respect, the Blessed Sacrament that is not consumed during Mass is reserved in a tabernacle. Upon entering the church, Catholics genuflect, bending the right knee to the ground, toward the tabernacle, in adoration of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
Also, near the tabernacle is a sanctuary candle that is kept lit to indicate and honor the presence of Christ. Because of Christ’s abiding presence in the tabernacle, the atmosphere of a Catholic Church is kept quiet to promote prayer and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.