The Meaning of the Eucharist
In the celebration of the Eucharist, bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit and the instrumentality of the priest. The whole Christ is truly present — Body, blood, soul, and divinity — under the appearances of bread and wine, the glorified Christ who rose from the dead. This is what the Church means when she speaks of the “Real Presence” of Christ in the Eucharist.
In the Eucharist, Jesus gives himself to us as spiritual nourishment because he loves us. By eating the Body and drinking the Blood of Christ in the Eucharist, we become united to the person of Christ through his humanity. “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him” (Jn 6:56). In being united to the humanity of Christ, we are at the same time united to his divinity.
The Eucharist is the source and the summit of our Christian life. It is both the source of our discipleship and its goal as we go from the sacrament of the altar to the sacrament of our neighbor. It is the alpha and omega of authentic Christianity. Receiving the Eucharist is at the heart of our Catholic faith. When we receive the Body and Blood of Christ, we become what we eat and celebrate our unity in our brokenness as we too are poured out for others.
Authentically, at each Eucharist, we relive the experience of the first disciples who encountered the Risen Christ on the road to Emmaus. These distraught disciples recognized Christ and were prepared to commit themselves anew to the mission.
First Eucharist at Bellarmine
First Eucharist is typically celebrated with our children in the second grade. We encourage parents to have their children begin their preparation as early as three years old in our Sunday morning GIFT program. These years leading up to First Communion will provide a foundation for understanding and appreciating our sacramental life, and will open their hearts to prayer and worship, to the love of Jesus, and to a sense of community.
More immediate preparation for First Communion begins in the early spring. Our formation is family-based, so parents and children attend together. We typically celebrate First Communion on the Third Sunday of Easter during our parish Masses. Older children who have not yet celebrated the sacrament are welcome to participate. Adults interested in completing this sacrament are invited to learn more about our RCIA program.
When registration is open, a form to sign up your child will be available on this page and in the bulletin. Those with questions can email our Sacramental Ministry Coordinator.