Liturgy of the Eucharist & Concluding Rites



After the Liturgy of the Word comes the Liturgy of the Eucharist, the heart of the Mass.  During the Liturgy of the Eucharist, we remember what Jesus did on the night before he died:  he took bread and wine, gave them to his disciples, and said, "This is my body; this is my blood."  The bread and wine, as well as the people's gifts of money, are brought forward to the altar.

The altar is prepared with the Sacramentary, the book that includes all the prayers for the Mass.  Though it is translated into many different languages, these prayers are the same in every Catholic Church throughout the world!  The servers also place a white "corporal" on the altar.  It's like a tablecloth for this holy meal.  The "chalice" and "purificator" or napkin are also placed on the altar.

The priest washes his hands before he prays the Eucharistic Prayer.  He says to himself, "Lord, wash away my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sins."

When the priest says the words, "This is my body," our faith tells us that Jesus truly becomes present in the simple signs of bread and wine.  An amazing change has taken place.  The priest holds the consecrated host high for all to see.  Servers ring bells to bring special attention to this moment.

When we receive communion, we profess our faith that Jesus is really coming to us in this sacrament.  The minister says, "The body of Christ," "The blood of Christ."  We respond "Amen," which is our way of saying, "Yes, I believe!"

After communion, we sing a song of thanksgiving, called a "hymn of praise."  Then we pray together again, and receive the priest's blessing.  At the end of the Mass, we "go in peace."  That means that we need to carry Christ's peace into our world, to all the places that only we can reach!

The presence of Jesus in holy communion is so special that the hosts that remain after Mass are kept in a special Chapel, called the Blessed Sacrament Chapel.  This is a great place to pray, for we know by faith that Jesus is very close to us here.

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