Friday 9 May 2008, by Fr. Philippe
1. What is a sacrament?
A sacrament is a powerful sign of Jesus’ presence among us.
2. What is the greatest (non-official) sacrament? What does it mean for us Catholics?
The greatest sacrament is the Church itself, because through the Church, through the Community, Jesus is present to the whole world. It means for us Catholics that we have a huge responsibility in presenting Jesus to the world.
3. The Eucharist is one of the 7 official sacraments. Do you know the others?
Baptism, Confirmation, (Eucharist), Penance & Reconciliation, Anointing of the sick, Holy Orders, Christian Marriage.
4. The full initiation into the Church comprises three sacraments. Which are they? Explain how they are signs of God’s presence.
Through Baptism, a person shares in the death and resurrection of Jesus, being born again to a New Life, and is incorporated into the Body of Christ, which is the Church;
Receiving the Eucharist, a person welcomes in a very special way Jesus in his/her body and in his/her heart, and expresses his/her unity and solidarity with the Body of Christ, which is the Church;
When a person receives the sacrament of Confirmation, he/she is recognised by the Community as an adult in the Church, which prays for him/her that he/she be fully receptive to the Holy Spirit received at his/her baptism.
5. Smaller signs of Jesus’ presence among us are called sacramentals. Can you give some examples?
The sign of the cross, bowing or genuflecting in front of the altar or in front of the eucharist, blessings, the washing of the feet on Holy Thursday, the ashes of Ash Wednesday, the blessed palms branches of Palm Sunday, the Paschal Candle, the crosses, the stations of the cross, holy statues and pictures, rosaries, medals, holy water, incense, etc.
6. According to the tradition of the Church, when was the Eucharist instituted?
On Holy Thursday, during the Last Supper.
7. The Eucharist is linked to one of the greatest events that happened to the Hebrew people.
What is that event?
Can you tell the story? (prepare by yourself)
Where can it be found in the Bible? Find it in the Bible.
In the book of Exodus.
8. What do we remember in the Eucharist?
We remember what God has done for us through Jesus Christ. He gave us his only Son so that we may understand what is the purpose of life and be saved.
9. Do you know a text in the Gospel of Luke that testify to the practice of the Eucharist in the early Church? Can you tell the story?
See The Road to Emmaus (Luke 24, 13-35)
10. What does the word « Eucharist » exactly mean and what does it designate?
The word « Eucharist » means « thanksgiving ». In the sacrament of the Eucharist, we give thanks to God for everything He has given us: life, love, a family, friends, creation, and most important, his only Son Jesus, who died on the cross and rose from the dead, so that we may have life. The word « Eucharist » designates at the same time the entire mass and the bread and wine consecrated into the body and blood of Jesus.
11. Can you give an outline of the Sunday mass?
12. How is called the great prayer during which the bread and wine become the body and blood of Jesus?
The Eucharistic Prayer
13. Can you describe what is happening during the Eucharistic Prayer?
The priest thanks God for all his gifts, he calls down the Holy Spirit on the gifts of bread and wine and over the people, he consecrates the bread and wine, making them to be the body and blood of Jesus, he prays for the Church, the people, the deceased members of the Community.
14. The initial prayer of thanks of the Eucharistic Prayer is different for each occasion.
How is that prayer called?
The « preface »
Which song do we sing at the end of it?
« Holy, holy, holy Lord... »
15. After remembering the words of Jesus at the last supper, the people are invited to proclaim the mystery of faith. In three expressions, can you tell what that mystery is?
Christ has died
Christ is risen
Christ will come again.
16. At the end of the Eucharistic Prayer, the priest takes up the Body and Blood of Christ and says a final prayer known as « Doxology ».
Do you know that prayer?
Through Him, with Him, in Him, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honour is yours, Almighty Father, for ever and ever.
What do the people answer?
« Amen »
What does it mean?
Yes, I believe it strongly.
17. During the Eucharistic Prayer, some people stand, others kneel down. What DO YOU THINK is the best and explain why. (prepare by yourself)
18. The priest invites the people to come and receive the Eucharist by the following words: « This is the lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world. Happy are those who are called to his supper. »
What do the people answer?
Lord, I am not worthy to receive You, but only say the word and I shall be healed.
Do you know where that answer comes from?
It is the answer of the Roman Centurion in Matthew 8:8
Do you know the story?
Read the story in Matthew 8:5-13
Do you think you are worthy of receiving communion? Explain.
19. What are the benefits of receiving Communion?
It builds up our relationship with Jesus.
It strengthens our relationship with the Body of Christ, which is the Church, the Community.
It unites all the members of the Community together, making the Church stronger.
It brings forgiveness for all our small (venial) sins.
It strengthens us to resist serious sins.
20. Receiving communion can be done in two ways. Do you know them and tell which is the way YOU FIND most fitting and why? (prepare by yourself)
21. When you receive, the priest presents communion to you with the words « The Body of Christ ». What are you supposed to answer and what doest it mean?
I am supposed to answer « AMEN », which means « Yes I believe it strongly! ». It is an act of faith that Jesus is actually present in the Eucharist.
22. After receiving communion, you should spend some time privatly with Jesus. What would you tell him? (prepare by yourself)
23. How often should you take part in the Eucharist?
Since the beginning of the Church, the disciples were faithful to the weekly celebration of the resurrection. Therefore, participation to each Sunday Mass must be an absolute priority in each Catholic’s life.
24. Who is normally not supposed to receive communion and why?
The children of the community who have not yet been prepared to receive.
The people who have not been initiated into the Catholic Church.
The people who live as married people without being married in the Church.
Any person who has committed a grave sin, which breaks the relationship with Christ and his Church (for example a sin against « life », a renunciation of one’s faith, an intentional act of hurting the Community or individual people, etc). Such a person must receive Penance and Reconciliation as soon as possible.
25. There are several ways of « serving » or « ministering » during mass.
Do you know some of them?
The altar servers, the proclaimers, the ushers, the extraordinary ministers of communion, the music ministry, the sacristans, the gifts bearers.
Can you explain what is their function? (prepare by yourself)