Sacrament of the Eucharist
“The most august Sacrament is the Most Holy Eucharist in which Christ the Lord himself is contained, offered and received, and by which the Church continually lives and grows. The Eucharistic sacrifice, the memorial of the death and resurrection of the Lord, in which the sacrifice of the cross is perpetuated through the ages, is the summit and source of all worship and Christian life, which signifies and effects the unity of the people of God and brings about the building up of the body of Christ. Indeed, the other sacraments and all the ecclesiastical works of the apostolate are closely connected with the Most Holy Eucharist and ordered to it.” (Cf. CIC, c. 897).
“The Eucharistic celebration is the action of Christ himself and the Church. In it, Christ the Lord, through the ministry of the priest, offers himself, substantially present under the species of bread and wine, to God the Father and gives himself as spiritual food to the faithful united with his offering.” (Cf. CIC, c. 899, §1).
The conciliar Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilum encourages the faithful to take part in the Eucharistic liturgy not “as strangers or silent spectators,” but as participants “in the sacred action, conscious of what they are doing, actively and devoutly.” Active participation by the laity is to be encouraged. At the same time, it should be noted that: “Active participation in the Eucharistic liturgy can hardly be expected if one approaches it superficially, without an examination of his or her life. This inner disposition can be fostered, for example, by recollection and silence for at least a few moments before the beginning of the liturgy, by fasting, and when necessary, by Sacramental confession. A heart reconciled to God makes genuine participation possible.” (Cf. Sacramentum Caritatis, 55). The Church teaches that the faithful have a serious obligation to participate in the celebration of the Mass on all Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation. (Cf. CIC, cc. 1246-1248; CCC, nos. 1389, 2180-2182).
Who are candidates for the Sacrament of the Eucharist?
1. Children who have reached the age of reason, usually seven years old. Children seven years old and older who have not been baptized may go through the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (also known as RCIA). See RCIA. In danger of death, the minimal requirements for the reception of First Eucharist are present when a child expresses the desire for the Eucharist and is able to distinguish it from ordinary bread.
2. Children who are part of the formal first grade faith formation experience, received either through the parish or Catholic school.
3. Children who have received preparation for and have celebrated First Penance.
What role do parents assume in preparation for the sacrament?
1. First and foremost, parents must understand that they are the primary teachers in the preparation for the celebration of Eucharist. They must give witness to their children about the faith and understanding of the Church concerning the Eucharist.
2. Work with catechists in preparing the child that he/she may gain sufficient knowledge about the mystery of Jesus Christ and be able to receive the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ with faith and devotion.
How do register my child for preparation to receive the Eucharist?
You may call Lori Cunliffe at (585) 924-2800.