Category Archives: Eucharist

The Church can’t live without the Eucharist, Pope Benedict reminds

Here’s the Pope’s Angelus address from earlier today. Notice the key points.

girl at Angelus June 26 2011.jpgToday in Italy and other countries Corpus Domini is
celebrated, the feast of the Eucharist, the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of
the Lord
, which he instituted with the Last Supper and which is the Church’s
most precious treasure
. The Eucharist is like the beating heart that gives life
to the whole mystical body of the Church
: a social organism entirely founded on
the spiritual but concrete link with Christ. As the Apostle Paul states: “Because
there is one bread, we, although many, are one body: all of us in fact
participate in the one bread” (1 Corinthians 10:17).


Without the Eucharist the
Church simply would not exist. It is the Eucharist in fact that makes a human
community a mystery of communion, able to bring God to the world and the world
to God. The Holy Spirit, which transforms the bread and wine into the Body and
Blood of Christ, also transforms into members of the Body of Christ those who
receive it with faith, so that the Church is truly the sacrament of the unity
of men with God and of men with each other
.

In a culture that is ever more
individualistic — like that in which Western societies are immersed and which
is spreading throughout the world — the Eucharist constitutes a kind of “antidote,”
which operates in the minds and hearts of believers and continually sows in them
the logic of communion, of service, of sharing, in a word, the logic of the
Gospel. The first Christians, in Jerusalem, were an evident sign of this new
way of life because they lived in fraternity and held all of their goods in
common so that no one should be indigent (cf. Acts 2:42-47). Where did all of
this come from? From the Eucharist, that is, the risen Christ, really present
with his disciples and working with the power of the Holy Spirit. And in the
succeeding generations, through the centuries, the Church, despite human limits
and errors, continued to be a force for communion in the world. We think
especially of the most difficult periods, the periods of trial: What did it
mean, for example, for countries that were under the heal of totalitarian regimes
to have the possibility to gather for Sunday Mass! As the ancient martyrs of
Abitene
proclaimed: “Sine Dominico non possumus” – without the “Dominicum,” that is, the Sunday Eucharist, we cannot live. But the
void produced by false freedom can be dangerous, and so communion with the Body
of Christ is a medicine of the intellect and will to rediscover taste for the
truth and the common good.

Dear friends, let us call upon the Virgin Mary, whom
my predecessor, Blessed John Paul II defined as a “Eucharistic woman”
(Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 53-58). In her school our life too becomes fully “Eucharistic,”
open to God and to others, able to transform evil into good by the power of
love, which fosters unity, communion, fraternity.

Corpus Christi in Rome 2011


Benedict on Corpus Christi 2011.jpg

The feast of Corpus Domini is inseparable from the Holy
Thursday Mass of in Caena Domini, in which the institution of the Eucharist is
also celebrated. While on the evening of Holy Thursday we relive the mystery of
Christ who offers himself to us in the bread broken and wine poured out, today,
in celebration of Corpus Domini, this same mystery is proposed to the adoration
and meditation of God’s people, and the Blessed Sacrament is carried in
procession through the streets of towns and villages, to show that the risen
Christ walks among us and guides us towards the Kingdom of heaven. Today we
openly manifest what Jesus has given us in the intimacy of the Last Supper,
because the love of Christ is not confined to the few, but is intended for all.
This year during the Mass of Our Lord’s Last Supper on Holy Thursday, I pointed
out that the Eucharist is the transformation of the gifts of this land – the
bread and wine – intended to transform our lives and usher in the
transformation of the world. Tonight I would like to return to this point of
view.

Everything starts, you might say, from the heart of Christ, who at the
Last Supper on the eve of his passion, thanked and praised God and, in doing
so, with the power of his love transformed the meaning of death which he was
about to encounter. The fact that the Sacrament of the altar has taken on the
name “Eucharist” – “thanksgiving” – expresses this: that
the change in the substance of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of
Christ is the fruit of the gift that Christ made of himself, a gift of a love
stronger than death, love of God which made him rise from the dead. That is why
the Eucharist is the food of eternal life, the Bread of life. From the heart of
Christ, from his “Eucharistic Prayer” on the eve of his passion,
flows the dynamism that transforms reality in its cosmic, human and historical
dimensions. All proceeds from God, from the omnipotence of his love One and
Triune, incarnate in Jesus. In this Love the heart of Christ emerges, so He
knows how to thank and praise God even in the face of betrayal and violence, and
thus changes things, people and the world.

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Mike Aquilina speaks on the Mass: From the Old Covenant to the New

Mike Aquilina is visiting us at the Siena Forum of Faith and Culture here at the Church of Catherine of Siena. In fact, it is a delight to have him, his brother and nephew here among the people of the Siena Forum. Here’s a key point: “With desire I [Christ] have desired to eat this meal with you.” We eat the big Passover –the Eucharist– in order to become partakers of the Divine Nature, it is a Communio: unity of hearts and minds with the Lord. No other form of communio can substitute for the communio we have with Christ in the Eucharist.
Mike explored with us the relevant themes of the Old Testament offering of sacrifice as foreshadowed in the New. That what is seen in the Old Testament is fullfilled in Christ.
“The Eucharist is not offered for faceless of multitudes.”
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Adoratio 2011: From Adoration to Evangelization

Dominique Rey.jpgThe Most Reverend Dominique Rey, Bishop of Fréjus-Toulon, announced today that he is sponsoring an international conference on Eucharistic Adoration to be held in Rome, Italy, 20-23 June 2011: Adoratio 2011: From Adoration to Evangelization.

The Missionaries of the Most Holy Eucharist, a community founded in 2007 Bishop Rey is doing the organizing of the conference.
In the words of Bishop Rey: “The first condition for the new evangelization is adoration.” No truer words have been spoken. And as we know so well, Eucharistic Adoration is key in the spiritual life and human flourishing and it figures prominently in the pastoral plan of Pope Benedict XVI.
Bishop Dominique Rey is renown for his pastoral directness and knowing Christ through sacred Scripture and the sacred Liturgy. His background includes earning a doctorate in economics and he worked for the Ministry of Finance of France. He is a priest of the Emmanuel Community and received episcopal ordination in 2000. Since becoming bishop, he’s known to be supportive of the good work of new communities, the lay movements and religious orders. His agenda is the Church’s:  the lex orandi, lex credendi tradition. He’s been an exponent of the new evangelization brought on the world stage by Pope John Paul II and continued by Pope Benedict XVI.
For more information: contact@adoratio2011.com
Media contact: Father Florian Racine: fr@adoperp.com 
The press release with a list of the speakers is found here: Eucharistic congress 2011, Rome.pdf

Church of Canada priestess gives communion to a dog

communion distribution.jpgAND you wonder why fewer and fewer people take the Anglican Church (or the Episcopal Church if you are American) with a degree of seriousness. Recently a Church of Canada priestess gave communion to a German Shepherd as a “simple church act of reaching out.” What a gesture of welcome! This act is not only contravening “church policy” as much as it is an acknowledgement that the real Presence of Christ is not a Reality for these people. Policy is has nothing to do with it, does it? But if the Anglicans of the Church of Canada simply believe Communion is a symbol or that it represents something else…. Sounds like Joseph Campbell, Derida and many Protestant theologians (e.g. Borg, Tillich and Bultmann) are patron saints of mere symbol and not of Jesus Christ, body and blood, soul and divinity.

What comes to mind is Flannery O’Connor’s famous insight when she said to hell with a symbol. O’Connor said:
“I was once, five or six years ago, taken by some friends to have dinner with Mary McCarthy and her husband, Mr. Broadwater…. She departed the Church at the age of 15 and is a Big Intellectual…. Toward morning the conversation turned on the Eucharist, which I being the Catholic, was obviously supposed to defend. Mrs. Broadwater said when she was a child and received the host, she thought of it as the Holy Ghost, He being the most portable person of the Trinity; now she thought of it as a symbol and implied that it was a pretty good one. I then said, in a very shaky voice, “Well if it’s a symbol, to hell with it.” That was all the defense I was capable of but I realize now that this is all I will ever be able to say about it, outside of story, except that it is the center of existence for me; all the rest of life is expendable.”

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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