The most venerable sacrament is the Blessed Eucharist in which Christ the Lord himself is contained, offered and received and by which the Church continually lives and grows. The Eucharistic sacrifice, the memorial of the death and resurrection of the Lord, in which the sacrifice of the cross is forever perpetuated, is the summit and the source of all worship and Christian life.
Guidelines on the Eucharist
The holy mass consist of two main parts (1) Liturgy of the Word (2) The Liturgy of the Eucharist.
Proclamation of the Word of God during Mass is an integral part of the Church’s liturgy. Given below are a few valuable tips that would be of help to proclaim the Word of God at Mass in a truly worthy and effective way:
Practice the reading at least a week before the scheduled day of your reading. Get familiar with the part of your prayer during the week. Remember that before you proclaim the Word to others, God speaks to you first. Hence first try to read, understand and apply it to yourself. The result should be to make hearts burn or stir. So, pray, prepare (check out the meaning of difficult words or seek help if not knowing the correct pronunciation), practice (read aloud) and proclaim (touch those assembled and give them a God-experience). After practicing, please note down the page number of the reading in the lectionary. If you feel that you need to practice more, then copy the passage and practice the same at home.
On the actual day of your reading, come at least 15 minutes early and practice the reading once again, marking the page correctly with an indicator (usually a ribbon or book mark) and keep the lectionary with the relevant page open. Before leaving the sacristy pray to the Holy Spirit to guide you in the task you are about to assume.
Come appropriately dressed, befitting the House of God and the role you undertake. Those who are immodestly dressed won’t be allowed to proclaim the Word of God.
Check with the choir if they are singing the responsorial Psalm and/or the Alleluia.
Take a seat close to the ambo or lectern, so that precious time is not wasted while approaching the lectern to do the reading. Please leave your seat after the ‘Collect’ is over and make a reverent bow before the altar before moving to the lectern. Check and make sure that the microphone is working. Adjust the microphone before you start your reading and speak into the microphone at all times.
Once you are ready at the lectern have eye contact with the congregation and make sure that the congregation is seated and is ready to listen. Read slowly, audibly and clearly, paying attention to your expression, voice projection, eye contact, naturalness, accent, emphasis, pitch and intonation.
Do not say: First reading or Second reading or the theme of the reading (it is not ‘theme’ but editorial note). Announce the reading as marked in the Lectionary, e.g. a reading from the book of Isaiah… Do not quote chapter and verse. The congregation is not supposed to follow the reading from their bible / leaflet. At the end of the reading, pause for a few seconds and then say “the Word of the Lord”, and wait for the people to respond, “Thanks be to God”. Before proceedings to your place seated, bow in reverence before the altar and move in silence.
Whenever alternative readings are given either in the Lectionary or in the Liturgical Calendar, it is best to seek the advice of the Parish Priest or his assistant in the right choice of readings. If for some reason you cannot make it, please contact your ward or group leader and the person in-charge of the liturgical cell. Please do not select another reader yourself.
The only minister, who in the person of Christ, can bring into being the sacrament of the Eucharist, is a validly ordained priest. Any baptized person who is not forbidden by law may and must be admitted to Holy Communion. For holy communion to be administered to children it is required that they have sufficient knowledge and be accurately prepared so that according to their capacity they understand what the mystery of Christ means and are able to receive the body of the Lord with faith and devotion.
In our parish First Holy Communion takes place on first of May every year. Those who have completed eight years on or before this day and are duly prepared can receive First Holy Communion.
Anyone who is conscious of grave sin may not receive the body of the Lord without previously having been to sacramental confession unless there is a grave reason and there is no opportunity to confess; in this case the person is to remember the obligation to make an act of perfect contrition, which includes the resolve to go to confession as soon as possible. One who has received the Blessed Eucharist may receive it again on the same day only within a Eucharistic celebration in which that person participates whoever is to receive the blessed Eucharist is to abstain for at least one hour before holy communion from all food and drink with the sole exception of water and medicine. Christ’s faithful who are in danger of death from whatever cause, are to be strengthened by Holy Communion as Viaticum. The Holy Eucharist is preserved in the tabernacle for the purpose of veneration.
In our parish Church, we have one mass during weekdays at 7.00 a.m and if there is mass for the dead it is celebrated at 8.30 a.m. On Sundays we have the parish mass at 7.00 a.m the children’s mass at 9.00 a.m and the youth mass in English at 10.15 a.m. The faithful are requested to come to the Church modestly dressed at least 15 minutes before scheduled time, spend a few moments in personal prayer before actively participating in the mass with the hymn book in your hand. After the communion every faithful is requested to make a prayer of thanksgiving before the mass ends. The faithful are also requested to live the Eucharist in their day to day life.
FAQs on Eucharist
- Can Communion be given to the mentally challenged?
The Blessed Eucharist may be administered to children in danger of death if they can distinguish the Body of Christ from ordinary food and receive it with reverence. Similar considerations could be invoked in the case of the mentally challenged even outside the danger of death. (Refer “The Canon Law Letter and Spirit”, Canon 913 §2.)
Courtesy: Archdiocese of Bombay Catholic Communication Centre