It is also called Holy Communion or Blessed Sacrament. It is the Sacrament of the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ under the appearance of bread and wine. This happens during the 'consecration' at Mass when the bread and wine are changed into the Body and Blood of Christ. Catholics use the term 'Transubstantiation' to refer to that fact.
This is the soul of the Catholic Church, what Vatican II called the "source and summit" of our Christian life.
Before Jesus suffered, he told his disciples that “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life” - John 6:54, and that “The bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” - John 6:51. In fact the whole of Chapter 6 in the Gospel of John is about the Eucharist. He meant what he was saying. That teaching was so radical and strange that many of his disciples said: 'Who could accept this?', and walked away. He never called them back like: 'Sorry guys come back, I didn't mean it so. I was just speaking figuratively!' And of course, at the last supper afterwards he told them - lifting the bread: 'Take and eat for this is my body...' And lifting the wine, he said: 'This is my blood...' He changed the bread and wine in some Godly-mystical way into his body and blood.
And he told them: 'Do this in memory of me', which meant he expected them to be ever celebrating this event, this Sacrament, which is what we do as Catholics.
People may sometimes question why Catholics always receive Holy Communion, why Catholics believe in the 'Real Presence' - which simply means believing that in the Holy Eucharist Jesus is literally and wholly present—Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity—under the appearances of bread and wine. Some people may say: 'Where is it in the Bible?' Such people may like to take a look at 1 Corinthians. 10:16–17, 11:23–29; and John 6:32–71.
St Joseph's Primary School in association with the Parish prepare the kids for First Holy Communion. This is normally in the month of May but preceded by series of meetings and classes with the kids, parents and God-parents. And so like in the other Sacraments of Initiation - Baptism and Confirmation, or any of the other Sacraments - the priests are always available to assist parents of children or adults who missed out on any of the Sacraments probably because they had not studied in a Catholic school.
The next FIRST HOLY COMMUNION day is the 19th of May at the 11 am Mass in St Columba's. Please click on the link below:
The Sacraments are big deals. First Holy Communion is a big deal. The goal of each one of us is to be united with Christ and to draw strength from him. That is what he offers us through this Sacrament. He said, as quoted above, that his flesh is meant to give life to the world. But his flesh is also the strength for the life of you or of your kids. Our bodies are nourished by the food we eat, so also our souls need nourishment and strength to grow. If we are truly disposed each time we receive Holy Communion - maintaining the state of grace we had at our baptism, or at least making use of frequent confession, we gradually begin to realise how indispensable this sacrament is for the life of our souls.