The Holy Eucharist
1. What is the Holy Eucharist? The Holy Eucharist is a sacrament (visible sign of an interior grace) and a sacrifice (the offering of a victim by a priest to God alone). In the Holy Eucharist, under the appearances of bread and wine, the Lord Christ is contained, offered, and received.
2. When and how did Christ institute the Holy Eucharist? At the Last Supper, the night before He died, He took bread, blessed and broke it, and giving it to His apostles, said: “Take and eat; this is My body”; then He took a cup of wine, blessed it, and giving it to them, said: “All of you drink of this; for this is My blood of the new covenant which is being shed for many unto the forgiveness of sins”; finally, He made his apostles priests when He gave the commission: “Do this in remembrance of Me.”
3. What happened when Our Lord said: “This is My body . . . this is My blood”? The entire substance of the bread was changed into His Body; and the entire substance of the wine was changed into His Blood. After this, there remained only the appearances of bread and wine (color, taste, weight, shape, and whatever else appears to the senses). This is called Transubstantiation. He is present whole and entire in both “species.”
4. How do priests exercise their power to change bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ? By repeating at the Consecration of the Mass the words of Christ: “This is My Body … this is My blood.”
5. Why does Christ give us His own Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist? Christ gives us His own Body and Blood in the Holy Eucharist: 1) to be offered as a sacrifice commemorating and renewing for all time the sacrifice of the cross; 2) to be received by the faithful in Holy Communion; 3) to remain ever on our altars as the proof of His love for us, and to be worshiped by us.
6. What is the Mass? The Mass is the sacrifice of the New Law in which Christ, through the ministry of the priest, offers Himself to God in an non-bloody manner under the appearances of bread and wine. It is the same sacrifice as the Cross made present on the altar, though in a different manner.
7. Who is the principal priest in every Mass? Jesus Christ, who offers to His heavenly Father, through the ministry of His ordained priest, His Body and Blood which were sacrificed on the cross.
8. What are the purposes for which the Mass is offered? The purposes for which the Mass is offered are: 1) to adore God as our Creator and Lord; 2) to thank God for His many favors; 3) to ask God to bestow His blessings on all men; 4) to satisfy the justice of God for the sins committed against Him.
9. How should we assist at Mass? We should assist at Mass with reverence, attention, and devotion. This happens by uniting with the priest in offering the Holy Sacrifice, and coming to receive Holy Communion by joining in mind and heart with Christ. Following along with the Mass and responding to chants and prayers helps as well.
10. What is Holy Communion? Holy Communion is the receiving of Jesus Christ in the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.
11. What is necessary to receive Holy Communion worthily? To receive Holy Communion worthily it is necessary to be free from mortal sin, to have a right intention, and to obey the Church’s laws on the fast required before Holy Communion out of reverence for the Body and Blood of Our Divine Lord.
12. Does he who knowingly receives Holy Communion in mortal sin receive Christ’s graces? He does not receive His graces and he commits a grave sin of sacrilege.
13. How should we prepare ourselves for Holy Communion? We should prepare ourselves for Holy Communion by thinking of Our Divine Redeemer whom we are about to receive, and by making fervent acts of faith, hope, love, and contrition.
14. What should we do after Holy Communion? After Holy Communion we should spend some time adoring Our Lord, thanking Him, renewing our promises of love and of obedience to Him, and asking Him for blessings for ourselves and others.
15. What are the chief effects of a worthy Holy Communion? The chief effects of a worthy Holy Communion are: 1) a closer union with Our Lord and a more fervent love of God and of our neighbor; 2) an increase of sanctifying grace; 3) preservation from mortal sin and the remission of venial sin; 4) the lessening of our inclinations to sin and the help to practice good works.
16. How should we show our gratitude to Our Lord for remaining always on our altars in the Holy Eucharist? By visiting Him often, by reverence in church, by assisting every day at Mass when this is possible, by attending parish devotions, and by being present at Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. -Fr. Brown
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