Eucharist in the Local Church: Meeting the Challenge of Real Participation

Eucharist as Sacrifice - Sacrament
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Globalisation is the process by which new technologies and powerful economies combine to make the world a smaller place. A global village. New forms of global culture and economic systems are emerging that transcend all national boundaries and trading blocs. The presentation ended with discussion on a resolution asking for the formation of an Anglican Urban Network to resource the Churches of the Anglican Communion and asked for support to establish a "Faith in an Urban World" Commission, in consultation with ecumenical bodies.

A revised resolution was adopted encouraging the work and asked the group to "continue to work toward being recognised in due course as an official network". It asked that a further report be made to ACC on the "scope and viability" of a commission. This hearing came just one day after the ACC visited a development for community services at St Matthews Episcopal Church, Possilpark, Glasgow, where they joined in the opening ceremonies for a new environmental project in this "multiple deprivation" area of the city. See press release In the light of recent positive developments towards reaching a just and lasting peace settlement in the Middle East, this ACC.

This Council, noting that the Virginia Report was introduced to ACC Panama and that Lambeth welcomed the report and requested the Primates "to monitor a decade of study in each province on the report,". The sessions dealing with the resolutions sparked active discussion and, at times, discord on some of the issues. He said, however, he was distressed that there was "unhelpful confusion" on some the report's proposals. A motion on homosexuals, part of this report, was withdrawn by the proposer, the Revd Sam Koshiishi of Japan, speaking for the network. Bishop Michael Ingham, Anglican Church of Canada, protested the failure of the ACC to address this issue and called their hesitance a "shameful failure of nerve" and expressed dismay at what he called "the pressure to withdraw the motion" put upon Fr Koshiishi.

The entire report was received by the ACC. The network states, in a reference to homosexuality, "the network agreed to continue to consider the justice dimensions of the debate over homosexuality, in the hope of contributing to the dialogue called for in the Lambeth resolution".

A resolution asked that certain requirements were needed for such a designation to be made. Elections were held for two vacancies on the Standing Committee. In the final session grateful thanks were offered to the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Most Revd Richard Holloway, and his staff and volunteers for all that they had done to make their international visitors feel welcome. The Archbishop of Canterbury called the meeting "successful and peaceful". She said that it was certain that friendships and bonds made during the last two weeks "will not readily be dissolved". This patrimony is conserved in prayers and liturgical rites.

Participation in the Eucharistic mystery greatly depends on understanding them. The mystagogical method is to read the mystery of Christ in the rites and to contemplate the underlying, unseen reality. The mystagogue in the liturgy, then, does not speak in his own name; he echoes to the Church what he has received and what has been entrusted to him. John the Baptist is the most emblematic figure of the minister who makes himself small so that the Lord may increase.

Cyril of Jerusalem recalls that the word ecclesia appears for the first time in the passage in which Aaron is assigned the priestly ministry. The priesthood and the Church are born at the same time and are inseparable parts of each other. The priest acts in persona Christi , in that it is no longer he who acts but Christ acts in him cf. Gal Mystagogy presupposes a certain dignity at celebrations. Paul cf. Everything contributes to the sense of mystery. Francis set down for his friars that the chalices, vessels and linens for the Eucharist have a particular dignity and be treated with the highest respect and veneration.

Chant and music ought to be worthy of the mystery which is celebrated, as seen in the psalms, hymns and spiritual canticles of Sacred Scripture cf.

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Faithful Catholics often establish voluntary associations to promote common religious, charitable, and apostolic ends. Much patient work has been done, not least by Faith and Order, in exploring the theological and ecclesiological issues which continue to divide the churches. If these differences. View all articles. Everyone in this dialogue should be animated by the desire to serve and to consolidate unity and cooperation. In spite of these great efforts, internal division remains a characteristic of the Reformed family.

Col Therefore, from the first centuries, the Church has considered sacred music as an integrating part of the Liturgy. These expressions of faith, therefore, in a rich, artistic patrimony cannot be overlooked in the life of the Church. In the Roman rite, the separate locations of the ambo and altar provide a natural variation in focus and attention for the liturgical actions done in these places.

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The same is true in Eucharistic worship outside of Mass; the faithful, upon entering the Church, turn their eyes towards the monstrance, where the Blessed Sacrament is exposed. New Testament tradition, a prolongation of the Jewish liturgy in the Temple, separated the area of the faithful, catechumens and penitents from the sanctuary , the holy place of God cf. Gen ; , where the ministers fulfilled their service to the divine mysteries. The biblical and patristic image of heaven descending to earth is manifested in the Eucharist celebrated on the altar.

The altar, though not necessarily large, is to be proportionate to the sanctuary. The priest approaches the altar for the offertory rites; in concelebrated Masses the priests gather around the altar for the anaphora. The altar is the symbol of Christ, Calvary and the Tomb from which the Lord rose in glory. Communion is distributed to the faithful outside the sanctuary.

Consequently, the altar is venerated and incensed together with the book of the Gospels placed upon it. This is all the more so, since the Christian altar is the symbol of Christ himself, present in the midst of the assembly of his faithful, both as victim offered for our reconciliation and as food from heaven, who is giving himself to us. Adoration is not to be seen in opposition to communion, nor is it to be placed on the same level.

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Communion reaches to the depths of a person when it is sustained by adoration. There is no conflict of signs between the tabernacle and the altar of Eucharistic celebration. The Eucharistic presence is not bound by time nor limited to the Mass. It is a mystery which is to endure throughout history until the Second Coming of the Lord in glory. The book of the Gospels is also placed on the altar. The necessary correspondence between the altar, tabernacle and chair is due to the preeminence of the Lord in relation to his minister.

Just as standing is associated with the resurrection, prostration signifies adoration of the Living One, risen from the dead. This heavenly liturgy is presented to the Church as the model and standard for the earthly liturgy. Kneeling and standing are two parts of a single act of adoration done during the Eucharistic Prayer and communion.

True adoration is conscious of the mystery present and knows that the Mass is more than a simple meal of fellowship. Receiving communion means to enter into communion with the Lord and the saints of the Church, both in heaven and on earth. Thus, communion and contemplation follow each other. This is also the profound truth of Eucharistic piety.

In the Latin Church, the entire content of the faith passed down for two millennia needs to be guarded and strengthened. Adoration of the Eucharist begins in communion and leads to acts of Eucharistic piety, adoring God the Father, in Spirit and in Truth, in the risen and living Christ, truly present among us. The sacred is a sign of the Holy Spirit. However, God does not retreat from the world to leave it to its worldly designs.

The sacred aspect of the Eucharist can be seen in the preparatory prayer of the priest for Mass and communion, in his prayers of thanksgiving after Mass and communion, in silence, [] in acts of purification, [] in incensations, [] in genuflections and in bows. The liturgical action is truly an action of God himself.


This consciousness gives the Christian liturgy its newness and special character; God himself acts and fulfills the essential part. Without the awareness of being made participants, the understanding called for in the celebration of the liturgy remains only exterior. In the liturgy we celebrate the risen Christ. For the Christian, this is the meaning of celebration, particularly Sunday celebration. In the liturgy, the inculturation of the faith takes place in a special way. It can be said that inculturation first took place in the incarnation, when the Word assumed a human nature and used human words to express himself in a specific time, place and culture.

The Second Vatican Council has recalled that the incarnation is the basis for bringing the Gospel, the liturgy and Christian doctrine to local cultures in order to benefit its recipients, especially the poor and simple-hearted. Popular piety brings together great geographic areas into the unity of faith and spans various cultures.

Though distinct from the liturgy, it can be considered as an expression naturally flowing from the liturgy. Liturgy as well as popular piety are an expression of the faith and the life of the Christian people. In the process of inculturating Christianity in non-Christian cultures, care and concern needs to be given to the culture and popular religious traditions which have flowered within Christianity. The same Holy Spirit sustains in the faith not only the liturgy but also popular piety.

The Eucharist is a priceless treasure: by not only celebrating it but also by praying before it outside of Mass, we are enabled to make contact with the very wellspring of grace. At the same time, they make us conscious of our unworthiness. Outside the Mass, the Lord Jesus is also living, spiritual food. He is the unfathomable mystery of God-among-us, accompanying us on our way. I leave myself as food for you and I allow myself to be assimilated until our oneness and togetherness are truly perfect. Persons united together maintain their individuality, but I become totally one with you.

In the end, I do not want anything to come between us; this only I desire: to be one with you. Communion, then, has an ontological effect; it is union with the life of Christ who transforms the life of each person. This establishes a vital identification which perfects and fulfills the filial adoption of Baptism. It is a sacrament of the living, that is, for those who enjoy union with Christ and his Church.

Mortal sin causes separation from God and the Church, thus barring access to the Eucharist. He hurried towards curing the injury so that it would not grow larger and become incurable Moved by his goodness, he did not stop for a moment in providing for humanity. The primary effect of the Eucharist is the truth of the Body and Blood present in the Sacrament.

This presence in the substances is real for those who participate in a particular time and place. At work in them is the transformation which is the pledge of the heavenly banquet. Union with Christ, the Head of the Mystical Body, the Church, is the principal fruit of the Eucharist and its meaning. Belonging to Christ and incorporation into the Church is the immediate, particular effect of Baptism cf. Rm ; it is perfected in the Eucharist. Indeed, precisely by becoming a member of the Body of Christ in Baptism can the believer participate in the Eucharist.

The Eucharist, then, presupposes ecclesial communion received in Baptism. Jn 6: Undeniably connected to these is the unity of the faithful who bear witness to mutual charity as members of the same body, a much-needed unity so that the world might believe cf. Jn ; ; In the Eucharist, Christ presses us towards charity, inside and outside the Church.

The Eucharist, especially in time of sickness or at the moment of death, is called viaticum for eternal life. With it comes the pledge of future glory, of seeing God as he is. Jn , the ultimate effect of the Eucharist will be fulfilled: the resurrection of the body. Eternal life is not quantitative, nor simply time without end, but a different level of existence. Christianity does not only promise immortality to the soul but resurrection to the body, namely, the whole human person.

If these fundamental questions of life do not receive a response, how difficult would it be to have faith in this Sacrament as the instrument of salvation and the means of personal transformation in Christ. Feeding on the Eucharist, Christians nourish their soul and become the soul which sustains the world, [] thus giving a Christian meaning to life, [] which is the meaning of the Sacrament.

The Sacrament brings the gift of charity and solidarity, because the Sacrament of the Altar is inseparable from the new commandment of mutual love. The Eucharist is the power that transforms us [] and strengthens us in virtue. From the beginning of the second century, St. The Eucharist is the basis for the missio ad gentes and the means to bring it to perfection. It allows the salvation given in the Sacrament of Bread and Wine to reach multitudes of people.

Consequently, Holy Communion brings its fruits: growth in union with Christ, separation from sin, a strengthening of ecclesial communion, a commitment towards the poor, the increase of grace and the pledge of eternal life. As a result, there is a profound analogy between the Fiat which Mary said in reply to the angel, and the Amen which every believer says when receiving the body of the Lord. On the first Easter, the Lord Jesus, together with his disciples, accomplished the new, definitive exodus out of the condition of slavery to sin. There is no longer the blood of a lamb; now, bread and wine distributed to all become the Body and Blood of the true Lamb of God.

Thus, the new covenant is realized. The Catechism of the Catholic Church takes up the words of St. Thus, the life and mission of Christian communities in the world conserve their proper ecclesial character, when they guard it and foster the entire richness of those gifts. The Eucharist in the Life of the Church: What importance does the celebration of the Eucharist have in the life of your community and that of the individual believer? What is the frequency of participation at Mass on Sundays?

On weekdays? On the major feast days of the liturgical year? Eucharistic Doctrine and Formation: What attempts are being made to transmit the teaching on the Eucharist, whole and entire, to your community and the individual believer?

Eucharist in the local church

Specifically, how are The Catechism of the Catholic Church , nn. In what way is the formation of faith in the Eucharist being ensured in initial catechesis? In homilies? In the programs of ongoing formation for priests, permanent deacons, and seminarians?

Of consecrated persons? Of the laity? The Understanding of the Eucharistic Mystery: What is the prevailing idea on the Eucharist among priests and the faithful of your community: sacrifice? Practically speaking, is any one of these ideas prevalent? If so, what is the reason. What are the negative aspects abuses, misunderstandings existing in Eucharistic worship? What elements or actions done in practice can obscure the profound sense of the Eucharistic mystery?

What is the cause of such a disorienting situation for the faithful? The Eucharistic Celebration and Liturgical Norms: In an attempt to be personal and avant-garde, do priests manifest any attitudes in their celebration of Mass which are explicitly or implicitly contrary to the liturgical norms established by the Catholic Church cf. In your estimation, what are the underlying reasons for such behaviour?

What elements or actions during the celebration of Holy Mass, and also in Eucharistic worship outside of Mass, according to their respective norms and dispositions, should receive attention so as to highlight the profound sense of this great Mystery of the faith hidden in the gift of the Eucharist? The Sacrament of the Eucharist and The Sacrament of Penance: Conversion is necessary to participate fully in partaking of the Eucharist. Holy Mass is also the celebration of salvation from sin and death.

For the return of sinners, above all on Sundays, what is provided so that the faithful can celebrate the Sacrament of Penance in time to participate in the Eucharist? Do Christian communities often display a casual approach to receiving Holy Communion or do they unjustifiably refrain from receiving it? What is being done to assist the faithful to discern if they have the proper dispositions to approach this great Sacrament?

The Sacred Character of the Eucharist: The Eucharist is the mystery of the Real Presence of God-among-us; at the same time, it is an unfathomable mystery. How should its sacred character be acknowledged? How do priests and the faithful manifest this sacred character in their celebration of Holy Mass on Sundays, weekdays, and major feast days and at other liturgical times during the year? What cultural attitudes and practices obscure this sacred character? Holy Mass and the Celebration of the Word: In parishes awaiting a priest, how widespread is the practice of celebrating the Liturgy of the Word with the distribution of the Eucharist, over which a lay person or Eucharistic minister often presides?

What specific formation do those responsible receive? Are the faithful able to understand the difference between such celebrations and Holy Mass? Do they have an adequate knowledge of the distinction between an ordained and non-ordained minister? The Eucharist and the Other Sacraments: To what measure and with what criteria are the other sacraments celebrated during Holy Mass?

When the sacraments and sacramentals are celebrated during Holy Mass Matrimony, Funerals, Baptisms, etc. Do situations exist in Eucharistic Liturgies or the Worship of the Eucharist which might lead to a diminished regard for the Real Presence. If so, what might be the reasons?

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What importance do pastors give to adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament? To Perpetual Adoration? To Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament? To personal prayer before the tabernacle? To processions on the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ? To Eucharistic devotion in parish missions? Holy Mass and the Liturgical-Devotional Life: Do the faithful understand the difference between Holy Mass and other devotional practices like the Liturgy of the Hours, the celebration of the sacraments and sacramentals outside of Mass, the Liturgy of the Word, processions, etc.?

How is the substantial difference shown between Eucharistic celebration and other liturgical and para-liturgical celebrations? Dignity at Eucharistic Celebrations: Is attention given in your Churches to the liturgical environment for Eucharistic celebrations? What is the artistic-architectural setting in which the Eucharistic liturgy is celebrated both on solemn occasions and on weekdays?

How frequently and for what pastoral reasons is Mass celebrated outside of this place of worship? The Eucharist and Inculturation: To what measure must attention be given to inculturation in the celebration of the Sacrament of the Eucharist so as to avoid a misunderstood creativity which leads to peculiar and strange practices. What criteria are followed in inculturation? What is the experience of the Eastern Churches in the inculturation of the Eucharist?

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The Eschatological Aspect of the Eucharist: Is the eschatological aspect of the Eucharist given sufficient emphasis in catechesis, in ongoing formation, in homiletics and in liturgical celebration? In what way is the eschatological tension flowing from the Eucharist present in pastoral life? The Eucharist, Ecumenism, Interreligious Dialogue and the Sects: Considering the ideas on the Eucharist held by our separated brothers and sisters in the West and the challenges of other religions and the sects, how is the mystery of the Most Blessed Sacrament preserved and presented in its entirety, so as not to cause confusion or misunderstanding among the faithful, particularly at ecumenical and interreligious meetings?

How are the norms of intercommunion applied cf. The Code of Canon Law , canon ? Are the faithful aware of the norm that a Catholic cannot receive the Eucharist in communities which do not have the Sacrament of Orders cf. Ecclesia De Eucharistia , 46? What do the faithful believe about the necessity of sacramental grace for living according to the Spirit and becoming saints?

What do the faithful think about the relation between the reception of the Sacrament of the Eucharist and other aspects of the Christian life: personal sanctification, moral obligations, fraternal charity, the construction of an earthly society, etc.? The Eucharist and Mission: The Eucharist is also a gift for mission. Are the faithful aware that the Sacrament of the Eucharist leads to the mission they have to fulfill in the world, according to their state in life? More on the Eucharist: What other aspects of the Sacrament of the Eucharist, not contained in the preceding questions, should be considered in preparing the Instrumentum laboris which will be discussed during the synodal assembly?

II, Const. Institutionem Generalem Missalis Romani XXII, cap. Ecclesia de Eucharistia Redemptor hominis 4. The adjective "last" should be understood as indicating Christ's desire to celebrate, according to Jewish custom, the Passover meal for a final time before his death, so as to render it "new and eternal" and to constitute it as a mystical covenant. In this way, the "hermeneutic key" of the Eucharist can be considered, united to the Paschal Mystery, to include not only the Lord's death and resurrection but also his incarnation.

Mysterium fidei 3. Funk ed. Didachen Audet ed. I, pars 1, Wiesbaden , p.

Epistulam 63, PL 4, Catechesin magnam , SCh , Catechesin mystagogicam , 4, 3: SCh bis, Homilias Catecheticas 15 et R. Do this in Remembrance of Me. The Eucharist from the Early Church to the Present. Be the first to write a review. Skip to main content. Email to friends Share on Facebook - opens in a new window or tab Share on Twitter - opens in a new window or tab Share on Pinterest - opens in a new window or tab. Add to watch list. Similar sponsored items. Picture Information. Have one to sell?

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