The Sacrament of the Eucharist (also called Holy Communion) is holy, a sacred celebration that brings us into close contact with the holiness of God. In the Eucharist the holiness of God is present to us in a unique way. We are made holy by the very act of participating in the Eucharist. Everything associated with the Eucharist is blessed and holy.
The eucharistic community is holy, as it makes the Lord present in its very gathering and then rejoices in the Lord’s presence in the Eucharist. By receiving the Body and Blood of the Lord, we become one body, a holy offering to the Father for the salvation of the world.
The priest is holy, for through his prayer in our name, the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. Through him the sacrificial offering is made, and the community is united as one holy family.
The place in which we gather is holy, because the church building is consecrated to the worship of God and the service of the community.
The day of the Lord is holy, because the followers of Jesus have been called to keep Sunday a special day of eucharistic prayer and rest in the name of the Lord.
The Doctrine of the Holy Eucharist is thus made up of:
- Doctrine about the Eucharistic sacrifice: Holy Mass is a real sacrifice, instituted by Christ at the Last Supper. It represents Christ’s sacrifice of the Cross, but in an unbloody manner. Priest and victim are both Christ, who offers himself through the priest. The laity also offers the sacrifice but does not have the power to transubstantiate. The Eucharistic sacrifice is offered to God in praise, thanksgiving, petition and atonement, for the living and the dead. Saints may also be commemorated in honor and petition. The Church has the responsibility of determining the rites and prayers to be observed. The liturgy as a whole is the public worship by the mystical Body of Christ. In every liturgical activity Christ is present, in a manner that must be properly interpreted.
- Doctrine about the Eucharistic sacrament, sacrificial meal and sacrificial food: The Holy Eucharist is a true sacrament, instituted by Christ. Christ is really present in the Holy Eucharist, even when not being received. It is therefore to be honored and adored. The whole Christ is present in either kind and is received by the communicant. For the wheat bread and grape wine are transubstantiated by the ordained priest into the flesh and blood of Christ so that only the appearance of bread and wine remains. The sacrament effects union with Christ; it is nourishment for the soul, gives increase in grace and remits venial sin and punishment. The Eucharistic meal can only be prepared in the sacrifice of the Mass.