The third of the three sacraments of initiation, the Sacrament of Holy Communion is the reception of Christ's Body and Blood. This sacrament is the source of great graces that sanctify us and help us grow in the likeness of Jesus Christ. Catholics believe the Eucharist, or Communion, is both a sacrifice and a meal. We believe in the real presence of Jesus, who died for our sins. As we receive Christ's Body and Blood, we also are nourished spiritually and brought closer to God.
The doctrine of the Holy Eucharist consist of that of the Eucharist sacrifice, the sacrificial meal, and the sacrificial food, or to express it otherwise, it consists of the doctrine of the Mass, of Communion, and of the Real Presence. There is no presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament that is not meant first and foremost as food for the faithful people, and there is no sacramental union with Christ in Holy Communion that is not to be thought of as a sacrificial meal: 'For as often as you shall eat this bread, and drink the chalice, you shall show the death of the Lord, until he comes' (1 Cor. 11:26). The Eucharistic meal can only be prepared in the sacrifice of the Mass.
First Holy Communion
The sacrament of Eucharist brings to completion the Christian process of initiation. In this sacrament we remember what Jesus did for us in his life, death and resurrection. We remember particularly the Last Supper, that final meal Jesus shared with his disciples. At that meal Jesus gave us the Eucharist so that we could remember him in a special way. When we receive Communion, we believe that we receive the person of Jesus into our very beings. We become one with him, and we become one with each other. As a community we become 'the body of Christ'.
The Sunday Eucharist (Sunday Mass) is the highpoint of our worship as a parish. Communion is taken to the sick and housebound after each Sunday Mass by Ministers of Communion.
Because the Eucharist is our great sign of unity as a community, one must be a Catholic to receive the Eucharist.
Catholic children usually make their first Eucharist (First Communion) at age 7. They prepare for this through your local parish.
When an adult is baptised, he or she normally makes their First Communion in the same ceremony as their baptism. Their preparation for this is usually through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (R.C.I.A.) or a similar process.
For all other inquiries regarding Eucharist (Holy Communion) please contact your local parish.