- The Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist
- Pastor's Letter to Parents regarding First Holy Communion and First Reconciliation
This is the final Sacrament among the Sacraments of Initiation. Jesus instituted the Holy Eucharist at the Passover meal the day before He died. (Lk 22:14-20)
First Communion Group 1 (May 6, 2012). Pictured are
seminarian Joshua Roldan, Msgr. Jim, Karen Corcoran and Fr. Guenter
First Communion Group 2 (May 13, 2012). Pictured are OLPH teacher,
Msgr. Jim, Karen Corcoran and OLPH School Principal Lillian Kurnik
'At the Last supper, on the night he was betrayed, our Saviour instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of his Body and Blood. This he did in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the ages until he should come again, and so to entrust to his beloved Spouse, the Church, a memorial of his death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a Paschal banquet 'in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us.' (CCC 1323)
The Holy Eucharist is the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. At Mass, when the priest pronounces the words of consecration, "This is my body...this is my blood" the substance of bread is changed into the Body and Blood of Jesus and the substance of wine is changed into the Body and Blood of Jesus. This is why Catholics fast one hour before receiving Communion and if they are not in the State of Grace, they go to Confession before receiving Holy Communion. Another way that we show our respect and belief in the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist is by genuflecting as we enter the Church.
When Catholics receive Holy Communion, they spend some time in a prayer of thanksgiving to Jesus for coming to their souls. This is a very special time when we speak personally to Christ who is physically within us while the sacramental species are still present (about 10 minutes).
Jesus promised, "I will be with you always until the end of time" on Ascension Day (Mt 28:23). Now His promise is fulfilled in the Holy Eucharist. We may make a visit to Jesus at any time because He is always present in the tabernacle.
At different times during the year, Churches have Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. The priest places the host in a monstrance so that the faithful may adore Jesus in the Holy Eucharist for prolonged periods. Some Parishes have Eucharistic Processions through the streets.
The Latin rite of the Catholic Church uses unleavened bread and some of the Eastern rites of the Catholic Church use leavened bread. In every rite of the Church, the Holy Eucharist is "the source and summit of the Christian life."
Many “firsts” in the life of a child such as his or her first cry, first word, and first step occur within the context of the family. With your initiative and faith, your child received the first sacrament of the Church – Baptism. Afterwards, it was you who first spoke to your child about God. Now it is the time for your child to recognize the saving love of God in either the Sacrament of Reconciliation or the Sacrament of the Eucharist or both, depending on which of these two sacraments your child has not yet received.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Church taught that the family is the “Domestic Church” and parents, by word and example, are the first heralds of the Faith with regard to their children. While appreciating all your efforts to nourish the spiritual life of your child we, your pastor, and all the parishioners of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish also pledge our support and assistance in preparing your child for these sacraments.
Within the Archdiocese of Toronto, a great deal of emphasis is put on the responsibility for the preparation for the sacraments being shared by parents, Catholic schools and the parish. This calls for co-operation, involvement and concerted effort on the part of all of us. For those whose children attend Our Lady of Perpetual Help School, your child’s teacher is responsible for the on-going religious instruction of your child and this includes an in-depth period of preparation for the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist. For those children who attend a public or private school or who are being home-schooled, the parish will provide an in-depth period of preparation for your child for these two sacraments. The preparation for both sacraments will take place on Tuesday evenings at 7:00 p.m. Preparation for 1st Reconciliation will begin in October and the preparation for 1st Communion will begin in January. The church requires that a child must be prepared for and celebrate their first confession prior to their first communion. The schedule in the registration package is available at the begining of September and outlines all the preparation dates for both of these sacraments. You will need to make it possible for your child to be present for these sessions so that they will be ready for the reception of these sacraments.
We ask you to make a commitment to have your child attend all the sessions at the Church, to do the homework with him or her, and enable your child to experience the Sacrament of the Eucharist, for which they are preparing, by the regular attendance and participation at Sunday Mass. Your child’s readiness for these sacraments will only be as good as the effort you put into making it happen.
In order to cover the cost of the materials that we will be using, we are asking you to make a $45.00 donation in preparation for these sacraments including the take-home workbooks for your child. If this amount is a problem for you in any way, you only need to let us know and to make an offering of whatever is possible for you, if anything at all.
Day-to-day life is quite hectic for all of us. Because of this, we have fixed the dates of the preparation sessions and the actual celebration of the sacraments so that you can get the dates in your calendars. The celebration of these two sacraments should be a joyful and important event in the life of your child. If you are willing to accompany him/her on this faith journey, please complete the registration form and return it to us with a copy of the child’s baptism certificate no later than ______TBA in registration package________.
May the faith and example of St. Mary and St. Joseph, who assisted Jesus, himself, to grow in wisdom and in faith, be your strength and inspiration.
Yours in Christ Jesus,
Msgr. James Hannah - Pastor