First Holy Communion/Eucharist
For parents seeking First Eucharist preparation for children in grades 2 through 4, First Eucharist is coupled with First Reconciliation preparation. Please refer to the Education Brochure or contact us at (860) 423-8439 or by E-Mail. This is a year long program that begins in the fall, and concludes in the spring. The completion of first grade is a prerequisite.
For grades 5 through 8, contact us to make arrangements for the Children’s Catechumenate Program for the child.
The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life. The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch.
– The Catechism of the
Catholic Church #1324
The Sacrament of Eucharist:
The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life and completes Christian initiation. The other sacraments and ecclesiastical ministries are bound up with and oriented to it. In brief, the Eucharist is the sum and summary of our faith: our way of thinking is attuned to the Eucharist, and the Eucharist in turn confirms our way of thinking. The Eucharist, through the actions of the Holy Spirit and the Real Presence of Jesus, His Body and Blood become present under the form of bread and wine. It is through the Eucharist that each of us is nourished by Jesus to seek God’s Will. The inexhaustible richness of this sacrament is expressed in the different names we give it. Each name evokes certain aspects of it.
It is called:
Eucharist, because it is an action of thanksgiving to God. The Greek words eucharisten and eulogein recall the Jewish blessings that proclaim – especially during a meal – God’s works.
The Lord’s Supper, because of its connection with the supper which the Lord took with His disciples on the eve of His Passion and because it anticipates the wedding feast of the Lamb in the heavenly Jerusalem.
The Holy Sacrifice, because it makes present the one sacrifice of Christ the Savior.
The Holy and Divine Liturgy, because the Church’s whole liturgy finds its center and most intense expression in the celebration of this sacrament.
The Most Blessed Sacrament, because it is the sacrament of sacraments.
Holy Communion, because by this sacrament we unite ourselves to Christ, who makes us sharers in his Body and Blood to form a single body.
The Holy Mass (missa) because the liturgy in which the mystery of salvation is accomplished concludes with the sending forth (missio) of the faithful, so that they may fulfill the will of God in their daily lives.
At the heart of the Holy Eucharist are the bread and wine that, by the words of Christ and the invocation of the Holy Spirit, truly and substantially become the Body and Blood of the risen and glorified Lord Jesus. In the Old Covenant bread and wine were offered in sacrifice among the first fruits of the earth as a sign of gratitude to God, but they also received a new meaning by the Exodus of Israel from slavery in Egypt.
The unleavened bread of Passover recalls the haste of departure on pilgrimage to the promised land, and manna in the desert testifies that God always fulfills His promise to sustain His people. Moreover, blood is the sign of fidelity to God’s covenant with Israel and of sorrow for sins which violate God’s law.
And finally, the cup of blessing at the end of the Jewish Passover meal transforms the simple human joy in wine into a sign of God’s saving action in history: the messianic expectation of the rebuilding of Jerusalem. All of these meanings were taken up and transformed by the Lord Jesus, the true Lamb of God, when He instituted the Holy Eucharist and commanded the Church to celebrate this sacrifice until He comes again in glory.
In the other six sacraments, God gives us a gift of grace; in the Holy Mass He gives us the gift of Himself. That is why the Holy Eucharist is the Sacrament of sacraments, the Mystery of mysteries. The Lord Jesus urgently invites us to receive Him in this wondrous sacrament: “Truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink His blood, you have no life in you” (John 6:53). Even as we struggle to understand this Mystery of Faith, we rejoice in this most sublime and abiding sacrifice of praise.
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. 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.