The Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist

A two-year sacramental preparation process that begins in the first grade and culminates in the celebration of First Penance and First Holy Communion in the second grade.

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“Jesus said: ‘I am the living bread that came down from heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever;..he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and… abides in me, and I in him.” (John 6: 51, 54, 56.).


Questions and Answers about the Holy Eucharist ..

Eucharist in the Catholic Church

“The holy Eucharist completes Christian initiation. Those who have been raised to the dignity of the royal priesthood by Baptism and configured more deeply to Christ by Confirmation participate with the whole community in the Lord’s own sacrifice by means of the Eucharist.”

(Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1322)

One of the important tasks of any Catholic Parent, Catholic School Teacher or Parish Catechist is to teach – and to model – reverence for the Most Holy Eucharist, the source and summit of our Faith. There are some very simple, yet important, ways by which this can be done. Below are some suggestions to model & teach and for us as adults to put into practice too! 

  • Faithfully attend Sunday Mass and Mass on Holy Days of Obligation.
  •  We must be in a state of sanctifying grace when we receive the Holy Eucharist. If one thinks he / she has unconfessed mortal sins, he / she must make a sacramental confession prior to receiving Holy Communion.
  •  Genuflect before the tabernacle when entering and leaving the church. We do this because the living Lord Jesus, Who is God Incarnate, is present in the tabernacle body, blood, soul, and divinity.
  •  Frequently insert the adjective “holy” before the words “Mass” and “Communion.” By doing so, we teach that “the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass” and the Holy Eucharist (Communion) are not part of the ordinary, everyday set of realities, but are holy and sacred.
  •  Fold our hands when going up to receive Holy Communion. The Mass is a prayer, and not any prayer, but the prayer of prayers and the highest form of worship in this life!
  •  Bow the head as a sign of reverence toward our Lord before receiving Holy Communion.
  •  Unite ourselves with Jesus’ sacrifice for the salvation of souls.
  •  Offer our Holy Communion for intentions before Mass. Each prayer, and especially Mass, may be offered for a personal intention, e.g. for someone’s health, or for someone
  • who has died. It is good to offer our Holy Communion for that person(s) for their benefit and as a way of personalizing our prayer.
  •  Say a prayer of thanksgiving after receiving Holy Communion.
  •  We may receive the Holy Eucharist on the tongue or in the hand-except in the case of intinction, in which case the Eucharist must be received on the tongue.
  •  Fast from food and drink for one hour (minimum) before receiving Holy Communion. Note: Water and medicine do not break the Eucharistic fast.
  •  Encourage Eucharistic adoration and devotion. If possible, make occasional visits to Catholic churches, outside of Mass to adore our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.
  •  Frequently ask our Blessed Mother, Mary, for a great love of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist.


By Jim Gontis
Director of Religious Education
Diocese of Harrisburg