Holy Eucharist cont'd
In the diocese of St. Catharines, children are invited to the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist for the first time in Grade 2. Registration for First Holy Communion typically takes place in tandem with registration for First Reconciliation. First Holy Communion for these children takes place during the Easter season. The role of the parents in the preparation process is essential to support and nurture the faith of their child; during this time as well the parents will be informed of the details of their child’s preparation, and invited to formation meetings for parents. For adults or those attending public schools who wish to receive the Eucharist, preparation is done in the parish, either through the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, or by a parish catechist. You may arrange this by contacting the parish office.
Parishioners are invited to receive the Precious Blood from the Eucharistic Minister. There are four stations: one at each of the handrails going up to the sanctuary, and the other two close by the doors on either side of the sanctuary. Why drink from the Cup? Receiving the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist from the cup is not a requirement, but receiving the Blood of Christ is a fuller sign of the mystery we celebrate. The question continues to be asked, reflecting an uneasiness for some lay people about resuming a practice unknown in the Roman Catholic Church for more than 600 years. In the Church’s first thousand years, Communion under a single species occurred only as a pastoral exception for infants, the sick, and the dying. The gradual reserving of the cup to ordained clergy, early in the second millennium, was to safeguard against spills and counteract the erroneous view that the laity needed both species to receive the whole Christ. Today’s restored opportunity to receive the sacramental Blood as well as Body of Christ lets us equally honour two invitations: “Eat My Body, Drink My Blood.” Receiving from the Chalice is a heightened liturgical experience of sacrifice, covenant, unity, and sacred banquet. In the Gospels, drinking from the cup is a sign of courageous discipleship. “Can you drink the cup that I will drink?” Jesus challenges. In the Garden of Gethsemane the same image expresses the ordeal awaiting Jesus. Not surprisingly, then, Communion from the cup implied for the early Christians an openness to martyrdom, a willingness to lay down one’s life.