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What is the Holy Eucharist / Holy Communion?
The Holy Eucharist is a Sacrament and a sacrifice. In the Holy Communion, through the instrumental power of the Priest and the invocation of the Holy Spirit, the bread and wine presented by the people in the Offertory Procession, is consecrated to become the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, although remaining Eucharist, under the appearances of bread and wine. This is no mere symbol. As Catholics we believe in this Miracle that happens at every Mass.
(a) The whole Christ is really, truly, and substantially present in the Holy Eucharist. We use the words "really, truly, and substantially" to describe Christ's presence in the Holy Eucharist in order to distinguish Our Lord's teaching from that of mere men who falsely teach that the Holy Eucharist is only a sign or figure of Christ, or that He is present only by His power.
(b) All Christians, with but few minor exceptions, held the true doctrine of the Real Presence from the time of Christ until the Protestant Revolution in the sixteenth century. Since then, because of this sad division within the Christian Family, only those who profess Catholic belief in the Sacrament may receive Holy Communion at our Masses and Liturgies.
(c) The word "Eucharist" means "Thanksgiving."
Christ gives us His own body and blood in the Holy Eucharist: first, to be offered as a sacrifice commemorating and renewing for all time the sacrifice of the cross; second, to be received by the faithful in Holy Communion; third, to remain ever on our altars as the proof of His love for us, and to be worshipped by us. - Taken from The Baltimore Catechism, Lesson 26
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