May is the month in which many children make their First Holy Communion. Whether you are attending the First Holy Communion of a child or not, it is the perfect time to reflect on the Eucharist and its importance to Catholic life.
In an introductory letter to their 2000 statement, Questions and Answers on the Eucharist, the Bishops of Pennsylvania say, “It is important that each of us understand the extraordinary and unique gift that is the Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Christ, given to us for our redemption and as a pledge of our eternal life.”
In answering the question, “Why is the Eucharist so important to the Church?”, the bishops say, “In short, when the Church gathers in worship of God and offers the Eucharistic sacrifice, not only is Christ really and truly present under the appearance of bread and wine, but he also continues his saving work of our salvation.”
The question-and-answer document covers the origins of the Eucharist, Christ’s real presence in the Eucharist, preparation for receiving communion, and Guidelines for the Reception of Communion approved by the United States Bishops.