The Repeatable Sacrament of Initiation
The Eucharist is the heart of the Christian life. Everything we do leads to or flows from the Eucharist. We are nourished at the table and then challenged to life the life of Christ in the world.
At Baptism we are first grafted into the life, death and resurrection of Christ. Confirmation seals what takes place in Baptism and celebrates the fullness of the role of the Spirit in the Church. In Eucharist, the one repeatable sacrament of initiation, we are fed and nourished with the Body of Christ, the Bread of Life and the Cup of Eternal Salvation, in the midst of the Body of Christ, the Church. (The Sacrament of Eucharist, Archdiocese of Cincinnati Office of Religious Education and Office of Worship, 1992.)
The Book of Exodus (12:1- 13:16) tells how God saved the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. This story has become the Passover meal celebrated in Jewish homes. Special foods, prayers and the retelling of the story helps the people involved to remember the work of God in their community and makes that action present to them now. If God saved the people in the past, then he will do so in the present.
Jesus ate with his disciples, prayed and read Scripture during the meals. He was open to tax collectors, sinners and outcasts. The Reign of God is open to all. The Last Supper focused on this Reign and its unfolding in the world.
The earliest written account of the meaning of Eucharist to the community of believers is found in Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, written about thirty years after Jesus’ death. “For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes.” (1 Cor. 11:26)
In the first three centuries of the Church, the Eucharistic worship was very simple – the gifts were offered, a prayer of thanksgiving was said, bread was broken and the community participated in the sharing of the bread and wine. After Christianity became the official religion of the Holy Roman Empire things changed and the Eucharist became more a clerical affair and the people became passive spectators. The people began to see Jesus as present in the Consecration and were less aware that he was (and is) present in the faith community. In 1215 the bishops of the Fourth Lateran Council required the faithful to receive the Eucharist once a year as a minimum during the Easter season, but the people received the Eucharist less and less. Pope Pius X, in an attempt to increase lay participation in the Eucharist, extended the age of reception to those seven and above. The age had previously been fourteen.
The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (#7) reminds us of the fourfold presence of Christ coming together in the action of the Eucharist – in the Word, in the Eucharistic elements, in the ordained minister and in the assembly itself.
We have moved from focusing only on the consecration of the bread and wine to realizing what our early brothers and sisters knew. The Eucharist is an act of worship, a participation in Jesus’ sacrifice, a celebration of salvation through Christ, a prayer of thanksgiving to the Father in union with the risen Christ and more. The “Amen” we say at receiving the Body of Christ and the Blood of Christ is our personal commitment to Jesus and the community of faith. We are then challenged to take that commitment into the world and live as Christians.
St. Dominic Parish has First Communion on the first Saturday in May. We have one liturgy at 11:00 A.M. We will also offer families the opportunity to have First Communion the first weekend in May at the regular parish masses. Parents are welcome to prepare their children for reception of the Sacrament at another time during the year as well.
Contact the Coordinator of Religious Education for information at 513-471-7741 ext. 481.