How We Worship: The Eucharist, The Sacraments, and the Hours

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For this reason the consecrated elements are preserved, generally in a church tabernacle , for giving Holy Communion to the sick and dying, and also for the secondary, but still highly lauded, purpose of adoring Christ present in the Eucharist. In the judgment of the Catholic Church, the concept of transubstantiation, with its accompanying unambiguous distinction between "substance" or underlying reality, and " accidents " or humanly perceptible appearances, safeguards against what it sees as the mutually opposed errors of, on the one hand, a merely figurative understanding of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist the change of the substance is real , and, on the other hand, an interpretation that would amount to cannibalistic a charge which pagans leveled at early Catholic Christians who did not understand the rites of the Catholic Church in that it was considered an "unbloody sacrifice" eating of the flesh and corporal drinking of the blood of Christ the accidents that remain are real, not an illusion and that in the Eucharist "the body and blood, together with the soul and divinity, of Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained.

Some [ who? But the earliest known use of the term "transubstantiation" to describe the change from bread and wine to body and blood of Christ was by Hildebert de Lavardin , Archbishop of Tours died in about , long before the Latin West, under the influence especially of Saint Thomas Aquinas c. The University of Paris was founded only between and The term "substance" substantia as the reality of something was in use from the earliest centuries of Latin Christianity, as when they spoke of the Son as being of the same "substance" consubstantialis as the Father.

The doctrine of transubstantiation is thus independent of Aristotelian philosophical concepts, and these were not and are not dogmata of the Church.

Roman Catholics Worship the Eucharist . . . literally!

The only minister of the Eucharist someone who can consecrate the Eucharist is a validly ordained priest [60] bishop or presbyter. He acts in the person of Christ , representing Christ, who is the Head of the Church, and also acts before God in the name of the Church. Those who are not priests may act as extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion , distributing the sacrament to others. By reason of their sacred Ordination, the ordinary ministers of Holy Communion are the Bishop, the Priest and the Deacon, to whom it belongs therefore to administer Holy Communion to the lay members of Christ's faithful during the celebration of Mass.

In addition to the ordinary ministers there is the formally instituted acolyte , who by virtue of his institution is an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion even outside the celebration of Mass. If, moreover, reasons of real necessity prompt it, another lay member of Christ's faithful may also be delegated by the diocesan Bishop, in accordance with the norm of law, for one occasion or for a specified time. Finally, in special cases of an unforeseen nature, permission can be given for a single occasion by the Priest who presides at the celebration of the Eucharist.

They may also exercise this function at eucharistic celebrations where there are particularly large numbers of the faithful and which would be excessively prolonged because of an insufficient number of ordained ministers to distribute Holy Communion. During the administration of the Eucharist, the celebrant and the believers are used to perform a liturgical chant, with a possibile instrumental arccompaniement. Particular churches. Philosophy, theology, and fundamental theory of canon law. Juridic and physical persons. Associations of the faithful. Institute of consecrated life.

Society of apostolic life. According to the Catholic Church doctrine receiving the Eucharist in a state of mortal sin is a sacrilege [67] and only those who are in a state of grace, that is, without any mortal sin, can receive it. Catholics must receive the Eucharist at least once a year - if possible, during Eastertide - [72] but for grave reason such as illness or child rearing or dispensation are excused from attending Mass.

A rule for Catholics who are members of the Latin Church is: "A person who is to receive the Most Holy Eucharist is to abstain for at least one hour before holy communion from any food and drink, except for only water and medicine. Catholics must make an outward sign of reverence before receiving. The consecrated host may be received either on the tongue or in the hand, at the discretion of each communicant. When Holy Communion is received under both kinds, the sign of reverence is also made before receiving the Precious Blood.

Catholics may receive Communion during Mass or outside Mass, but "a person who has already received the Most Holy Eucharist can receive it a second time on the same day only within the eucharistic celebration in which the person participates", except as Viaticum Code of Canon Law, canon In the Western Church, "the administration of the Most Holy Eucharist to children requires that they have sufficient knowledge and careful preparation so that they understand the mystery of Christ according to their capacity and are able to receive the body of Christ with faith and devotion.

The Most Holy Eucharist, however, can be administered to children in danger of death if they can distinguish the body of Christ from ordinary food and receive communion reverently" Code of Canon Law, canon For in this form the sign of the eucharistic banquet is more clearly evident and clear expression is given to the divine will by which the new and eternal Covenant is ratified in the Blood of the Lord, as also the relationship between the Eucharistic banquet and the eschatological banquet in the Father's Kingdom However, Christ, whole and entire, and the true Sacrament, is received even under only one species, and consequently that as far as the effects are concerned, those who receive under only one species are not deprived of any of the grace that is necessary for salvation" General Instruction of the Roman Missal.

The General Instruction of the Roman Missal mentions a "Communion-plate for the Communion of the faithful", distinct from the paten , [81] and speaks of its use in relation to the administration of Communion by intinction , in which receiving Communion directly in the mouth is obligatory. Validly baptized non-Catholics may receive the Eucharist from Catholic ministers only in special situations:. Whenever necessity requires it or true spiritual advantage suggests it, and provided that danger of error or of indifferentism is avoided, the Christian faithful for whom it is physically or morally impossible to approach a Catholic minister are permitted to receive the sacraments of penance, Eucharist, and anointing of the sick from non-Catholic ministers in whose Churches these sacraments are valid.

Catholic ministers administer the sacraments of penance, Eucharist, and anointing of the sick licitly to members of Eastern Churches which do not have full communion with the Catholic Church if they seek such on their own accord and are properly disposed. This is also valid for members of other Churches which in the judgment of the Apostolic See are in the same condition in regard to the sacraments as these Eastern Churches.

If the danger of death is present or if, in the judgment of the diocesan bishop or conference of bishops, some other grave necessity urges it, Catholic ministers administer these same sacraments licitly also to other Christians not having full communion with the Catholic Church, who cannot approach a minister of their own community and who seek such on their own accord, provided that they manifest Catholic faith in respect to these sacraments and are properly disposed.

The bread used for the Eucharist must be wheaten only, and recently made, and the wine must be natural, made from grapes, and not corrupt. A small quantity of water is added to the wine. The Congregation for Divine Worship provided guidance on the character of bread and wine to be used by Roman Catholics in a letter to bishops dated 15 June It included instructions concerning gluten-free or low-gluten bread and non-alcoholic substitutes for wine. Whether the agape feast , a full meal held by Christians in the first centuries, was in all cases associated with a celebration of the Eucharist is uncertain.

The form of this celebration in the middle of the second century is described by Justin Martyr as very similar to today's Eucharistic rites known in the West as the Mass and in much of the East as the Divine Liturgy. The regular celebration was held each week on the day called Sunday, [91] which Christians were also calling the Lord's Day. Catholics typically restrict the term 'communion' to the reception of the Body and Blood of Christ by the communicants during the celebration of the Mass and to the communion of saints.

Earlier still, in about , Saint Ignatius of Antioch criticized those who "abstain from the Eucharist and the public prayer, because they will not admit that the Eucharist is the self-same Body of our Savior Jesus Christ, which [flesh] suffered for our sins, and which the Father in His goodness raised up again" Epistle to the Smyrnaeans 6, 7.

Similarly, St. Ambrose of Milan countered objections to the doctrine, writing "You may perhaps say: 'My bread is ordinary. The earliest known use, in about , of the term "transubstantiation" to describe the change from bread and wine to body and blood of Christ was by Hildebert de Savardin , Archbishop of Tours died He did this in response to Berengar of Tours declaring that the Eucharist was only symbolic.

The Seven Sacraments of the Catholic Church

In , the Fourth Lateran Council used the word transubstantiated in its profession of faith, when speaking of the change that takes place in the Eucharist. In the Council of Trent officially defined that "by the consecration of the bread and of the wine, a conversion is made of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord, and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of His blood; which conversion is, by the holy Catholic Church, suitably and properly called Transubstantiation.

The attempt by some twentieth-century Catholic theologians to present the Eucharistic change as an alteration of significance transignification rather than transubstantiation was rejected by Pope Paul VI in his encyclical letter Mysterium fidei. In his Credo of the People of God , he reiterated that any theological explanation of the doctrine must hold to the twofold claim that, after the consecration, 1 Christ's body and blood are really present; and 2 bread and wine are really absent; and this presence and absence is real and not merely something in the mind of the believer.

In his encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia of 17 April , Pope John Paul II taught that all authority of bishops and priests is primarily a function of their vocation to celebrate the Eucharist. Their governing authority flows from their priestly function, not the other way around. In the visions of Christ reported by St. Margaret Mary Alacoque in the 17th century, several promises were made to those people that practice the First Fridays Devotions, one of which included final perseverance. The devotion consists of several practices that are performed on the first Fridays of nine consecutive months.

On these days, a person is to attend Holy Mass and receive communion. A Nuptial Mass [98] is simply a Mass within which the sacrament of Marriage is celebrated. Other sacraments too are celebrated within Mass. This is necessarily so for the sacrament of Orders, and is normal, though not obligatory, for the Sacrament of Confirmation , as well as that of Marriage. Unless the date chosen is that of a major liturgical feast, the prayers are taken from the section of the Roman Missal headed "Ritual Masses".

This section has special texts for the celebration, within Mass, of Baptism, Confirmation, Anointing of the Sick, Orders, and Marriage, leaving Confession Penance or Reconciliation as the only sacrament not celebrated within a celebration of the Eucharist. There are also texts for celebrating, within Mass, Religious Profession, the Dedication of a Church and several other rites. If, of a couple being married in the Catholic Church, one is not a Catholic, the rite of Marriage outside Mass is to be followed.

However, if the non-Catholic has been baptized in the name of all three persons of the Trinity and not only in the name of, say, Jesus, as is the baptismal practice in some branches of Christianity , then, in exceptional cases and provided the bishop of the diocese gives permission, it may be considered suitable to celebrate the Marriage within Mass, except that, according to the general law, Communion is not given to the non-Catholic Rite of Marriage , 8.

Exposition of the Eucharist is the display of the consecrated host on an altar in a Monstrance. The rites involving exposition of the Blessed Sacrament are the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament and Eucharistic adoration. Adoration of the Eucharist is a sign of devotion to and worship of Christ, who is believed to be truly present. The host is generally reserved in the tabernacle after Mass and displayed in a monstrance during adoration. As a Catholic devotion , Eucharistic adoration and meditation are more than merely looking at the host, but a continuation of what was celebrated in the Eucharist.

Christian meditation performed in the presence of the Eucharist outside Mass is called Eucharistic meditation. When the exposure and adoration of the Eucharist is constant twenty-four hours a day , it is called Perpetual adoration. Since the Middle Ages the practice of Eucharistic adoration outside Mass has been encouraged by the popes.

It is the responsibility of Pastors to encourage, also by their personal witness, the practice of Eucharistic adoration, and exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Bread Wine.

e-book How We Worship: The Eucharist, The Sacraments, and the Hours

Adoration Discipline Thanksgiving. Vessels Paten Chalice. Main article: Thomistic sacramental theology. Main article: Transubstantiation. Jus vigens current law. Legal history. Jus antiquum c. Oriental law. Liturgical law. Sacramental law. Matrimonial law. Temporal goods property. Law of persons. Person canon law Formal act of defection from the Catholic Church Canonical age Emancipation Exemption Clerics Secular clergy Regular clergy Obligation of celibacy Clerics and public office Incardination and excardination Laicization dispensation Canonical faculties Office Canonical provision Canonical election Juridic and physical persons Jus patronatus Associations of the faithful Consecrated life.

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Penal law. Canon Canon Censure canon law De delictis gravioribus Complicit absolution Crimen sollicitationis Excommunication List of excommunicable offences in the Catholic Church List of people excommunicated by the Catholic Church List of excommunicated cardinals Interdict Internal forum Laicization penal Latae sententiae Lifetime of prayer and penance Canonical admonitions Ecclesiastical prison. Procedural law. Legal practice and scholarship. Law of consecrated life. Main article: Canon See also: Historical roots of Catholic Eucharistic theology.

Guide How We Worship: The Eucharist, The Sacraments, and the Hours

Fresco detail by Pietro Lorenzetti. Solar monstrance of the Eucharist. Catholicism portal. Retrieved Ergo, an Open Access Journal of Philosophy. Mahwah, New Jersey: Paulist. Peter Fink, SJ. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, , pp. The Church obliges the faithful to participate at Holy Mass every Sunday and on holy days of obligation.

She recommends participation at Holy Mass on other days as well. The Church recommends that the faithful, if they have the required dispositions, receive Holy Communion whenever they participate at Holy Mass. However, the Church obliges them to receive Holy Communion at least once a year during the Easter season. To receive Holy Communion one must be fully incorporated into the Catholic Church and be in the state of grace, that is, not conscious of being in mortal sin.

Anyone who is conscious of having committed a grave sin must first receive the sacrament of Reconciliation before going to Communion. Also important for those receiving Holy Communion are a spirit of recollection and prayer, observance of the fast prescribed by the Church, and an appropriate disposition of the body gestures and dress as a sign of respect for Christ. Holy Communion increases our union with Christ and with his Church. It preserves and renews the life of grace received at Baptism and Confirmation and makes us grow in love for our neighbor.

It strengthens us in charity, wipes away venial sins and preserves us from mortal sin in the future. Catholic ministers may give Holy Communion licitly to members of the Oriental Churches which are not in full communion with the Catholic Church whenever they ask for it of their own will and possess the required dispositions. Catholic ministers may licitly give Holy Communion to members of other ecclesial communities only if, in grave necessity, they ask for it of their own will, possess the required dispositions, and give evidence of holding the Catholic faith regarding the sacrament.

The Eucharist is a pledge of future glory because it fills us with every grace and heavenly blessing. It fortifies us for our pilgrimage in this life and makes us long for eternal life. It unites us already to Christ seated at the right hand of the Father, to the Church in heaven and to the Blessed Virgin and all the saints. The Definition of the Sacrament of Eucharist Catholics believe the Eucharist, or Communion, is both a sacrifice and a meal. What is the Eucharist? When did Jesus Christ institute the Eucharist? How did he institute the Eucharist?

What does the Eucharist represent in the life of the Church? What are the names for this sacrament? Where does the Eucharist fit in the divine plan of salvation? How is the celebration of the Holy Eucharist carried out? Who is the minister for the celebration of the Eucharist? What are the essential and necessary elements for celebrating the Eucharist?

In what way is the Eucharist a memorial of the sacrifice of Christ? In what way does the Church participate in the eucharistic sacrifice? In our situation this has been coupled with the demographic decline of the rural parish. With fewer priests, the decline of rural population in both North America and Europe has led to a dramatic increase in the frequency of Sunday worship when no priest can be present.

In mission countries conversely the shortage of priests has often been coupled with a huge growth in the Catholic population, which again means that in many rural mission situations also the assembly must gather without a priest and without the Eucharist. A crucial second factor is that for the first time in its history the universal Church effectively institutionalized this development of the Sunday gathering of the faithful in the absence of a priest.

Several documents were central to this process. The practice seems first to have been given recognition in the liturgy constitution of Vatican II, which included a general provision that bible services should be encouraged, including on Sundays and holyday s. It went on to say: "They are particularly recommended when no priest is available; when this is the case a deacon or some other person authorized by the bishop is to preside over the celebration. It provided: "If it is impossible to assist at a eucharistic celebration, either because no sacred minister is available or for some other grave reason, the faithful are strongly recommended to take part in a liturgy of the word, if there be such in the parish church or some other sacred place, which is celebrated in accordance with the provisions laid down by the diocesan bishop; or to spend an appropriate time in prayer, whether personally or as a family or, as occasion presents, in a group of families.

Finally this process of institutionalization became complete when the Directory of Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest was issued by the Congregation for Divine Worship in The Directory did two important things; it codified the recognition of such Sunday celebrations, providing detailed conditions as to how and when they should take place, and it provided also concrete norms for the celebrations themselves, although it did not actually provide a detailed ritual.


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This document, which is very important to a proper understanding of all such Sunday celebrations, is contained in full at the very beginning of the Canadian ritual book. If two important factors in recent times are the shortage of priests and the consequent institutionalization of Sunday celebrations when priests are absent, a third factor, closely related to the second, is that the form of such Sunday worship has now taken on the fixed character of a liturgical celebration of the word.

Even before the Directory, Inter Oecumenici had already provided a broad form for this. It said that the plan of such a celebration would be "almost the same as that of the liturgy of the Word at Mass. Even as early as , then, before the close of Vatican II, we can find Sunday celebrations defined as celebrations of the Word.

Locally in Canada, various diocesan, regional and national initiatives implemented these general provisions. I believe that the Diocese of Labrador City-Shefferville, under Bishop Peter Sutton, was one of the first in our country to make use of such celebrations on a widespread scale. The experience there and a survey of practices both in Canada and throughout the world was the foundation of the preparation in of a formal ritual by Father Len Sullivan of Regina, a former director of the National Office, as a project of the Western Liturgical Conference.

This ritual, commonly known as the "Red Book", became an early standard for many dioceses both in Canada and the United States. Other dioceses sometimes issued their own rituals adapted from this. If there was any criticism of this ritual, however, it was that it appeared to be not so much a ritual for a liturgy of the Word in itself, as a modified ritual for the Eucharist with the particular eucharistic elements omitted.

Actually, it was here in the Diocese of St. George's that a more focused form of a genuine Sunday liturgy of the Word was prepared in This introduced the central element of the procession and enthronement of the Word after the gathering rites, and it included also a whole variety of prayers of praise that were largely drawn from the Scriptures and were thus more appropriate to a celebration of the Word than earlier forms of praise, which were often adapted from a eucharistic context. It was the St. As the title indicates, this also included the form of the liturgical hours of Morning or Evening Prayer as an appropriate alternative form of the celebration of the Word, since they are almost totally based on the Scriptures.

In certain areas, then, due to the lack of priests, communities are unable regularly to celebrate the Sunday Eucharist. When they continue to gather on that day, they are not thereby any less responsive to the call of the Risen Christ, but their assembly is not lived out in its fullest form, which is the Eucharist. It is for this reason that we can, in a more particular way, speak, as is very common in French, of "Sunday Celebrations of the Word in anticipation of the Eucharist.

At the same time it must be recognized that while such celebrations look forward to the day when the Eucharist will again be celebrated within the community, they also flow from the Eucharist and that they are the worship of a community which has been sustained by it. Looking at it from this perspective, the rich character of a Sunday celebration of the Word which anticipates a future eucharistic celebration should not lead us to overlook its limitations in contrast with the celebration of the Eucharist itself.

Even with the distribution of communion, it is not the Eucharist, for it does not make present the fullness of Christ's saving action. Deacons or lay persons who lead it are not ordained to act in the person of Christ the head of the Body, as the priest or bishop does in the offering of the Eucharist, and thus one of the important modes of Christ's presence is absent.

We must never lose sight of the fact that even if at a Sunday celebration the eucharistic sacrament is shared, we are not celebrating the Eucharist. For the Eucharist is not only sacramental communion with Christ's body but the memorial and the renewing of Christ's Paschal sacrifice, thereby enabling the Church to make present anew Christ's gift of himself to the Father and to be one with him in his action.

Even as we accept that Sunday liturgies celebrated when the Eucharist cannot take place are never the ideal, we must recognize also their positive effects. One has to acknowledge that they maintain and build up the community as the body of Christ and that they encourage the development of the co-responsibility of the laity within the Church.

They contribute to the formation of the laity, and to their active participation in a variety of ministries and services, some of which go beyond the Sunday assembly. They enrich the prayer life of the community, and they bring to the gathered assembly the presence of Christ speaking through the word. In fact, by gathering to hear and reflect upon the same word of God that is proclaimed universally, the community renews its own communion in Christ, is connected to the larger parish and diocesan community, and is united to the Church throughout the world. Even more to the point, a community unable to celebrate the Eucharist is still enabled, as part of the body of the risen Christ, to gather in the Spirit to offer its own Sunday worship and praise to God.

The rite for Sunday celebrations of the Word calls forth not only the ministry of lay presiding, but a whole variety of ministries within the community. Of the questions that arise with regard to Sunday celebrations of the word perhaps the most general is when they should take place and when should they not. Because of the enormous variety of situations the answer to this question may not always be clear-cut.

For this reason, both the Code of Canon Law and the Directory recognize the broad authority of the diocesan bishop to regulate this matter, and to decide in just what circumstances Sunday celebrations without a priest should take place. The former should take place only in circumstances where for good reasons the Eucharist cannot be celebrated, or where individuals cannot participate in Sunday Eucharist.

Because particular situations can be very complex, the Church regards the bishop's judgment in this matter as both necessary and decisive. However while the principle is simple and straightforward, the reasons that might influence the bishop's judgment can cover a wide range of circumstances.

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The degree to which a community is isolated is an obvious consideration, along with the difficulty of transportation, and economic considerations such as whether people have their own vehicles and what are the costs involved. In Canada, weather and geography can be real factors. So too can entirely different things like the general age and health of the group in question. The physical impossibility of people being able to get to mass nearby is clearly a valid reason, as for example in the case of prisoners, the hospitalized, and members of the armed forces who must remain on base.

Language might also be a consideration in some circumstances. So must be the temporary absence of the clergy because of illness, vacation, or other good reasons. Jesus' one perfect sacrifice is thus eternally present before the Father, who eternally accepts it. This means that in the Eucharist, Jesus does not sacrifice himself again and again. Rather, by the power of the Holy Spirit his one eternal sacrifice is made present once again, re-presented, so that we may share in it. Christ does not have to leave where he is in heaven to be with us. Rather, we partake of the heavenly liturgy where Christ eternally intercedes for us and presents his sacrifice to the Father and where the angels and saints constantly glorify God and give thanks for all his gifts: "To the one who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor, glory and might, forever and ever" Rev As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, "By the Eucharistic celebration we already unite ourselves with the heavenly liturgy and anticipate eternal life, when God will be all in all" no.

When in the Eucharist we proclaim the Sanctus we echo on earth the song of angels as they worship God in heaven. In the eucharistic celebration we do not simply remember an event in history. Rather, through the mysterious action of the Holy Spirit in the eucharistic celebration the Lord's Paschal Mystery is made present and contemporaneous to his Spouse the Church.

Furthermore, in the eucharistic re-presentation of Christ's eternal sacrifice before the Father, we are not simply spectators.