8.45am & 10.30am
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“The angels surround and help the priest when he is celebrating Mass.” ~ St. Augustine
Catholics have been celebrating Holy Communion together for hundreds of years. It represents the pinnacle of our community’s beliefs, as we join and become ‘one body’ in communion with God. As such, one must have gone through the Church’s initiation process and be Baptised Catholic to receive the Eucharist itself. Unbaptised participants are invited to respectfully receive a blessing.
‘Eucharist’ comes from the Greek word for ‘thanksgiving.’ At Mass the priest invites us to celebrate the Liturgy of the Eucharist. But, the word ‘celebration’ is derived from the Latin word ‘celebratio’. It’s a solemn occasion, but one with good news and an assembly of people.
We ‘consecrate’ the Communion bread. Once consecrated, we then call it the ‘Host’, derived from the Latin word “hostia”. It means a “victim”, representing Jesus and His self sacrifice.
The Last Supper was a Jewish Passover meal, during which Jesus Christ gave his new People a new Covenant, or agreement between God and man. The apostles received this gift of a “new covenant in my blood” with the command to “do this in memory of me”. To this day we “do this in memory” of Christ.
Gethsemane by Carl Bloch
First holy communion
“Do you know what Mass is? In the Church, it is what the sun is in our world, it is the soul of our faith, the center of our religion, the end and center of all the ceremonies, rites and sacraments. In a word it is the summary of all that is beautiful and good in the Church of God.”
~ St. Leonard of Port Maurice
The first purpose of receiving the Eucharist is to unite each of us to God, and secondly to unite as a community.
Every aspect of the liturgy of the Mass carries meaning. From the way the Church is traditionally built to offer the Mass, to the robes the priest wears, our liturgies are cloaked in hundreds of years of symbolism and stories to draw us into deep contemplation and prayer.
For the Mass and for our faith to grow in meaning, it’s important we understand what we believe and why we do what we do. Our First Holy Communion is a part of this process.