The celebration of Mass culminates in the divine meal we call the Eucharist.
It is the highest form of prayer a person can pray. It is the source of our faith and lives because we are fed with the body and blood, soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ with which Christ strengthens us and unites us with Jesus and with each other.
It is the sign of our unity of faith and bring about that unity at the same time. Because it is so important, preparation is necessary in order to understand what one is doing and receiving.
For children of age, classes are offered to prepare for one's first Holy Communion. Classes are offered during the school year.
This program provides preparation for the first reception of the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Communion for all children of Saint Anne Parish. The program is for children in 2nd grade. The classes are for children who attend public school, Catholic School and are home schooled. This is their first experience of belonging to a larger community of faith. Parents are asked to attend at least two faith formation classes that are offered throughout the year. These classes are to help the parent to grow in their faith and to enable them to fulfill their baptismal commitment as the primary catechist to their child/ren. First Reconciliation is celebrated in January and First Holy Communion is usually celebrated the last weekend in April or early May. Sacramental Preparation Registration must be completed by October 1 and requires a copy of your child’s Baptismal Certificate.
For further information and details about preparation classes, contact or email our Pastoral Assistant. See the Staff page for that e-mail address.
From the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, November 11, 1996:
As Catholics, we fully participate in the celebration of the Eucharist when we receive Holy Communion. We are encouraged to receive communion devoutly and frequently. In order to be properly disposed to receive communion, participants should not be conscious of grave sin and normally should have fasted for one hour. A person who is conscious of grave sin is not to receive the body and blood of the Lord without prior sacramental confession except for a grave reason where there is no opportunity for confession. In this case the person is to be mindful of the obligation to make an act of perfect contrition, including the intention of confessing as soon as possible (Canon 916). A frequent reception of the sacrament of penance is encouraged for all.
For our fellow Christians
We welcome our fellow Christians to this celebration of the Eucharist as our brothers and sisters. We pray that our common Baptism and the action of the Holy Spirit in this Eucharist will draw us closer to one another and begin to dispel the sad divisions which separate us. We pray that these will lessen and finally disappear, in keeping with Christ’s prayer for us "that they may all be one" (Jn. 17:21). Because Catholics believe that the celebration of the Eucharist is a sign of the reality of the oneness of faith, life and worship, members of those churches with whom we are not yet fully united are ordinarily not admitted to holy communion. Eucharistic sharing in exceptional circumstances by other Christians requires permission according to the directives of the diocesan bishop and the provisions of canon law (Canon 844.4). Members of the Orthodox churches, the Assyrian church of the East and the Polish National Catholic church are urged to respect the discipline of their own churches. According to Roman Catholic discipline, the Code of Canon Law does not object to the reception of communion by Christians of these churches (Canon 844.3). Reception of the Eucharist by Christians not fully united with us would imply a oneness which does not yet exist, and for which we must all pray.
For those not Receiving Holy Communion
All who are not receiving holy communion are encouraged to express in their hearts a prayerful desire for unity with the Lord Jesus and with one another.
We also welcome to this celebration those who do not share our faith in Jesus Christ. While we cannot admit them to Holy Communion, we ask them to offer their prayers for the peace and the unity of the human family.
FROM THE CATECHISM OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
The Eucharist is 'the source and summit of the Christian life."
"The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch."
"The Eucharist is the efficacious sign and sublime cause of that communion in the divine life and that unity of the People of God by which the Church is kept in being. It is the culmination both of God's action sanctifying the world in Christ and of the worship men offer to Christ and through him to the Father in the Holy Spirit."
Finally, by the Eucharistic celebration we already unite ourselves with the heavenly liturgy and anticipate eternal life, when God will be all in all.
In brief, the Eucharist is the sum and summary of our faith: "Our way of thinking is attuned to the Eucharist, and the Eucharist in turn confirms our way of thinking."