Today I will speak to you about the Eucharist. The Eucharist is at the heart of “Christian initiation”, together with Baptism and Confirmation, and it constitutes the source of the Church’s life itself. From this Sacrament of love, in fact, flows every authentic journey of faith, of communion and of witness.
What we see when we gather to celebrate the Eucharist, the Mass, already gives us an intuition of what we are about to live. At the centre of the space intended for the celebration there is an altar, which is a table covered with a tablecloth, and this makes us think of a banquet. On the table there is a cross to indicate that on this altar what is offered is the sacrifice of Christ: he is the spiritual food that we receive there, under the species of bread and wine. Beside the table is the ambo, the place from which the Word of God is proclaimed: and this indicates that there we gather to listen to the Lord who speaks through Sacred Scripture, and therefore the food that we receive is also his Word.
Word and Bread in the Mass become one, as at the Last Supper, when all the words of Jesus, all the signs that he had performed, were condensed into the gesture of breaking the bread and offering the chalice, in anticipation of the sacrifice of the cross, and in these words: “Take, eat; this is my body... Take, drink of it; for this is my blood”.
Jesus’ gesture at the Last Supper is the ultimate thanksgiving to the Father for his love, for his mercy. “Thanksgiving” in Greek is expressed as “eucharist”. And that is why the Sacrament is called the Eucharist: it is the supreme thanksgiving to the Father, who so loved us that he gave us his Son out of love. This is why the term Eucharist includes the whole of that act, which is the act of God and man together, the act of Jesus Christ, true God and true Man.
Therefore the Eucharistic Celebration is much more than simple banquet: it is exactly the memorial of Jesus’ Paschal Sacrifice, the mystery at the centre of salvation. “Memorial” does not simply mean a remembrance, a mere memory; it means that every time we celebrate this Sacrament we participate in the mystery of the passion, death and resurrection of Christ. The Eucharist is the summit of God’s saving action: the Lord Jesus, by becoming bread broken for us, pours upon us all of his mercy and his love, so as to renew our hearts, our lives and our way of relating with him and with the brethren. It is for this reason that commonly, when we approach this Sacrament, we speak of “receiving Communion”, of “taking Communion”: this means that by the power of the Holy Spirit, participation in Holy Communion conforms us in a singular and profound way to Christ, giving us a foretaste already now of the full communion with the Father that characterizes the heavenly banquet, where together with all the Saints we will have the joy of contemplating God face to face.
Dear friends, we don’t ever thank Lord enough for the gift he has given us in the Eucharist! It is a very great gift and that is why it is so important to go to Mass on Sunday. Go to Mass not just to pray, but to receive Communion, the bread that is the Body of Jesus Christ who saves us, forgives us, unites us to the Father. It is a beautiful thing to do! And we go to Mass every Sunday because that is the day of the resurrection of the Lord. That is why Sunday is so important to us. And in this Eucharist we feel this belonging to the Church, to the People of God, to the Body of God, to Jesus Christ. We will never completely grasp the value and the richness of it. Let us ask him then that this Sacrament continue to keep his presence alive in the Church and to shape our community in charity and communion, according to the Father's heart. This is done throughout life, but is begun on the day of our First Communion. It is important that children be prepared well for their First Communion and that every child receive it, because it is the first step of this intense belonging to Jesus Christ, after Baptism and Confirmation.
POPE FRANCIS Wednesday, 5 February 2014
When is Mass Celebrated in our Parish?
Mass is celebrated in our church
Monday – Friday at 7:00 p.m.
Saturday at 5:00 p.m.
Sunday at 9:00 a.m., 10:30 a.m. & 12:00 p.m.
Due to the recent surge of COVID-19 cases in Manitoba, the Winnipeg Metropolitan Region will be moving to the critical level (red) on the #RestartMB Pandemic Response System effective Monday, Nov. 2nd. As of November 2nd, up to forty-five people (approximately 15% of our building capacity) may be present at Mass in our church. All those who wish to celebrate Mass in our church are asked to contact the parish office to register for attendance. Be prepared to give your name, the names of all family members who will be attending the Mass and contact information. This allows us to ensure public health follow-up can take place if a parishioner is exposed to COVID-19. We are asking parishioners to be flexible in considering attendance at a different date and time. Remember, the obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and Holy Days remains suspended in the Archdiocese of St. Boniface.
We look forward to the day when we can gather restriction free again. Thank you for your support and for being a part of the community of St. Gerard Parish!
2020-2021 Sacrament Preparation in our Parish
Sacrament preparation will continue this year with extra guidelines put in place based on the recommendations of the Archdiocese of St. Boniface and the Government of Manitoba. If you would like to register your child for First Reconciliation/ First Eucharist or Confirmation preparation this year, your child must be enrolled in a Catechism program or attend a Catholic school. If you have any questions, please contact the parish office.
First Reconciliation & First Eucharist registration form
Frequently Asked Questions
Please Note: In light of the concerns regarding COVID-19, we are taking steps to resume the preparation and celebration of the Sacrament of First Eucharist in our church while still ensuring the safety of all who use our building. To learn more about what is being done in our parish at this time, please click here.
At what age should a child first receive the sacrament of the Eucharist?
A child is invited to prepare for the Sacrament of the Eucharist in grade 2 or 3, there is no age requirement. As each child ages and develops differently, we suggest children begin Sacrament preparation once they’ve begun to understand reason and faith. Preparations for the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Sacrament of the Eucharist are take place at the same time in our parish. If parents feel that their child is ready to prepare for Reconciliation, but not the Eucharist, we can make arrangements for their preparations.
What preparation is required for my child to celebrate their first Eucharist?
Preparation for first Eucharist includes four sessions with parents and regular participation in Sunday Mass. This is because the main topics discussed include parts of the Mass, particularly Liturgy of the Word and Liturgy of the Eucharist. Regular attendance at Mass will allow children to apply and reinforce what they’ve learned during preparation sessions.
When are first Eucharist preparation sessions?
First Eucharist preparation sessions run throughout the year, taught with First Reconciliation preparation as students prepare to receive both Sacraments at the same time. These sessions are regularly scheduled for Saturday mornings once a month, between 10:30 a.m. -12:00 p.m.
Are there requirements of the parents who wish to have their child celebrate their first Eucharist?
Both parents must attend all preparation sessions with their child. They must also regularly participate in Sunday Mass, guiding their children through the Mass, helping them learn and understand the liturgies. If time constraints are an issue, parents can speak with our Sacrament preparation coordinator to make alternative arrangements.
Are there costs associated with sacrament preparation?
Yes. Costs will cover instructional materials.