The Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist (Holy Communion) is “the source and summit of the Christian life.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1324). During the Mass, we gather around the Lord’s table and remember Christ’s Passion, sacrifice on the cross, His Resurrection, and His Ascension as Jesus instructed us during the Last Supper.
As Catholics, we believe in transubstantiation - the transformation of bread and wine into the true Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. We ask that only “properly disposed” Catholics receive Holy Communion. This means that the receiving of Jesus’ Body and Blood is set aside for Catholics who are in right relationship with God and with one another. The intention here is not to dissuade anyone from receiving Communion; rather, it is an invitation to heal what is broken, creating a suitable environment for Jesus. The Church recommends going to Confession regularly prior to receiving Communion during Mass.
No. Only properly disposed Catholics may receive Holy Communion. The word Communion can also be seen as “comm-union”, or in other words, “union with”. Receiving the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ signifies a proclamation of this belief, as well as expression of unity and belief in the Catholic Church and all that she teaches. If you are not a Catholic but feel drawn to the Catholic Church and the Eucharist, we invite you to visit our Becoming Catholic page.
Catholics receive the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ every time they receive Holy Communion. We believe that Jesus is truly present in the consecrated species of bread and wine. Communion must then be received with the greatest reverence and worship of our Lord. If possible, the Church recommends fasting for at least one hour prior to receiving the Eucharist. The Church also recommends taking part in the Sacrament of Reconciliation as often as possible, but at least once every year, to prepare our souls to receive Jesus. If there are any mortal sins that are in the way of your relationship with Jesus, Confession removes the mortal sinto prepare your heart prior to receiving Jesus in the Eucharist.
Catholics are obliged to attend Holy Mass on all Sundays and holy days of obligation. In Canada, the holy days of obligation are: December 25th (Christmas) and January 1st (The Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God). This obligation is meant to be seen in light of love and devotion to Jesus, responding to His invitation out of obedience, not mere duty.
If one misses Mass due to a serious illness or an unforeseen event, then he or she is encouraged to read the Mass readings for that week and reflect on the words of God as revealed in the Bible.