“In the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist ‘the Body and Blood, together with the Soul and Divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and, therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially contained.’ ‘This Presence is called 'Real' - by which is not intended to exclude the other types of presence as if they could not be 'real' too, but because it is Presence in the fullest sense: that is to say, it is a substantial Presence by which Christ, God and man, makes Himself wholly and entirely present."
—Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), 1374
First Communion is offered for children in 2nd grade and above who have been prepared to receive the sacrament. It is offered also to older boys and girls or teens who take a preparation program with us. The usual occasion for reception of First Eucharist for all of them is in early May.
First Eucharist is also offered to adults upon taking our RCIA program or private instruction. They receive Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation all together at the Easter Vigil.
For more information on Communion preparation, contact our staff persons of Mrs. Maureen Curtis (children, teens) and Mr. Ron Dolan (adults). You may also start with the parish pastor, especially in the case of some teens or adults in first inquiries.
In some situations requiring the pastor’s attention, those persons who want to return to the Sacrament of Eucharist, but who need a confession or assistance with a nullity/annulment process, may call for an appointment. We’ll be glad to assist you. For those who want Eucharist in a homebound or hospital or assisted living situation, please call the parish office at 301-249-9199.
The Sacrament of Holy Eucharist
Eucharistia means thanksgiving, and the Eucharist is the "source and summit of the Christian life." St. Justin Martyr described the Eucharistic Liturgy in 155 AD in his First Apology. Imagine that! We have records of the Mass going back to such early days of Christianity.
Yes, it was important back then, too! Why? The Paschal mystery of Christ is celebrated in the liturgy of the Mass. Meaning: it is like the Red Sea deliverance action of God’s believers marching to freedom, exception this is the New Testament story. Our exodus is from sin and death to grace and eternal life!
The Mass is the Eucharist or principal sacramental celebration of the Church, established by Jesus at the Last Supper, in which the mystery of our salvation through participation in the sacrificial death and glorious resurrection of Christ is renewed and accomplished. The word "Mass" comes from the Latin missa, as it refers to the mission or sending forth of the faithful following the celebration, so that they may fulfill God's will in their daily lives.
The essential signs of the sacrament are wheat bread and grape wine, on which the blessing of the Holy Spirit is invoked during the Sacrifice of the Mass, and the priest pronounces the words of consecration spoken by Jesus at the Last Supper. He says what Jesus said: "This is my body...This is the cup of my blood..." (Matthew 26:26-28, Mark 14:22-24, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26). Jesus died once on the cross in sacrifice for our sins (Hebrews 9:25-28).
But—also—He rose. Now Jesus is present for all time, as he is the eternal Son of God. His Sacrifice may now be re-presented by Jesus wherever He and His Father and His Spirit desire to give it. Yet the Mass is clearly where Jesus wanted to give and show His Saving Offering. It was there He said, “Do this in memory of Me.” What Jesus was getting at was that what he did once in history does also, then, exist for all eternity. It is available to sinners.
As St. John tells us in His visions of Heaven (from the book of Revelation) the Lamb of God is seen on the throne. His offering is in the present, not just of the past at the Calvary spot in old Jerusalem.
What happened in time through Jesus goes beyond time. How so? Jesus is Eternal. He is the Blessed Eternal Son of the Most Holy Trinity! In the heart of Jesus he is always giving himself to the Father for us, as he did on the Cross. When we celebrate the Mass, the sacrifice of the Cross, we know that this Event happened once in history, but we also believe that the Sacrifice is present for all eternity, and that same reality is made present in mystery. We call that encounter a Sacrament. The Sacrament is Christ.
The bread and wine through Transubstantiation become the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, and we receive the Real Presence of Jesus when we receive Holy Communion. Our soul is nourished, helping us to become like Christ. The Eucharist is the heart and source of community within the Church. Receiving Holy Communion with others during the Mass brings unity of the Church, the Body of Christ (I Corinthians 10:16-17).
Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me." And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you."
"I am the living bread which came down from heaven; if anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh."
“For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me." In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me." For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes.”