The Eucharist is the sacrament of the body and blood of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, and it is the sacrament that is celebrated at Mass. The term “Eucharist” means “thanksgiving,” and the Mass is basically a prayer of thanksgiving for our redemption.
The elements of the Eucharist are bread (usually in the form of a thin wafer known as a host) and wine. These elements are transformed into the body and blood of Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit through the words of consecration prayed by the priest on behalf of the congregation.
We believe that the consecrated bread and wine are the real body and blood of Christ, not merely symbols. As such, we believe that Christ is really and truly present in the Eucharist, and we often use the term Real Presence to describe this reality.
The Eucharist is the third sacrament of initiation because it leads people who receive it into deeper and deeper communion with Jesus. Unlike the other sacraments of initiation (baptism and confirmation), the Eucharist may be received over and over all through life. In fact, Catholics are encouraged to receive the Eucharist daily, if possible.
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The Eucharist may be received in good standing during each Mass.