Pastoral Notes by Fr. Edmund Vargas
All about the Eucharist
We are a Eucharistic community. We are transformed by the food we partake in the Eucharist. The Eucharist brings about in us a new way of being human. As the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council assert: The Eucharist is the “source and summit of the Christian life”. Transubstantiation is the process by which the bread and wine of the Eucharist is transformed into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ at the Act of Consecration during Mass, thus making it possible for the Risen Christ to be truly present in the Eucharist.
We are reminded that the Holy Eucharist is truly the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. If you are a Catholic not properly disposed to receive Holy Communion or are not a member of the Catholic Church, you are welcome to remain in your place and unite yourself in prayer or join the procession with your arms folded over your chest indicating that you wish to receive a prayer. Since the beginning of the year, Holy Communion in both species (the Body of Christ in the form of the consecrated host and the Blood of Christ in the form of the consecrated wine) have been made available. This practice is highly encouraged. It expresses in a unique way the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
There is a mandatory one-hour fast before the reception of Holy Communion, unless you are dealing with some medical condition or old age. The one-fast is part of our physical preparation for the reception of tremendous reality of Christ’s presence. Chewing gum, coffee or soft drinks are not even allowed during Mass. Water bottle are allowed but not encouraged.
Genuflection before the Blessed Sacrament, located behind the Altar in the sanctuary, is done with the right knee touching the ground as one enters the church and as one leaves the church. One makes a genuflection or a profound bow when he or she crosses the Blessed Sacrament. The act of genuflection expresses our adoration of Christ, present in the Blessed Sacrament. The presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament is also why we are encouraged to observe silence as we enter the church before our Eucharistic celebrations. And usually, there are ongoing Confessions before the Masses. Conservations, when deemed required, should be engaged behind the glass doors of our main entrance or in the breezeway. Speaking of Confessions, one should celebrate the Rite of Reconciliation with a priest before receiving Holy Communion when he or she has been in a state of mortal sin. Receiving Holy Communion in the state of mortal sin is sacrilegious.
Our Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration (PEA) Chapel is a living testament of our faith in Christ’s Real Presence in the Eucharist. Let us continue to strengthen our commitment to adore Him in the Eucharist. Let our lives always be inspired by the love that Christ has shown by His death on cross, which is repeated at every Eucharistic celebration.