The Eucharist is the Sacrament in which we receive the Body and Blood of Christ. It is rooted in the Jewish Passover, where the escape from slavery in Egypt to freedom in the Promised Land is celebrated. This memorial was a way of the people bringing a reality from the past into a reality in the present.
At the Last Supper, which Jesus shared with his disciples, he gave the Jewish Passover a new meaning – he gave himself, under the appearance of bread and wine, as a sacrifice. Jesus himself would take people from the slavery of sin to the freedom of new life with him. As we know, the Last Supper was followed by Jesus’ his death and resurrection on the cross, which is where this sacrifice became a reality. But, by asking his disciples to “do this in memory of me”, Jesus was inviting us all – right through to the present day and every time we celebrate Mass – to not only remember this event as a moment fixed in the past, but to celebrate his presence with us as a reality of our present too. Through the ministry of our priests, Jesus becomes truly present to us in his totality – body, blood, soul and divinity.
So, as with all Sacraments – which is an outward, visible sign of inward grace – when we receive Jesus in Holy Communion, the host and chalice as the outward signs of the invisible grace, which is the gift of Jesus himself, truly present to us. The word Eucharist itself means “Thanks-giving”. Indeed, this Sacrament should lead us to a deep gratitude for what Jesus has done in our lives and move us, day by day, to allow the transformation of our own lives, so that we live in such a way as to share Jesus’ love in everything we do.
Preparing for Reconciliation and First Holy Communion
At the current time there are strict HM Government COVID-19 restrictions still in place, with guidance issued by the Bishop’s Conference of England and Wales.
This is a parish-based programme, which recognises the central role of parents in the development of their children’s faith. It explores the many gifts given to us by way of a journey to Reconciliation and the Eucharist. The preparation programme is only for those children who will be receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation and First Holy Communion within the Catholic Parish of Bishop’s Stortford and not elsewhere. Each child is prepared so that they may have sufficient knowledge in their own capacity to understand the mystery of Christ in reconciliation and Holy Communion.
The First Holy Communion Programme is led by a group of dedicated catechists with the support of Sophie Sullivan (parish catechetical co-ordinator) and Fr Antonio. The programme comprises a series of sessions/classes plus additional activities involving both the children and their parents. The book I Belong, published by the Redemptorists, is used for the programme.
Applications are now closed for the Sacrament of Reconciliation and First Holy Communion 2021. We will publish information on next year’s programme as soon as available.