Communion is the act of receiving the Body and Blood of Christ as regular food for and celebration of our Christian Life. It is the point, the gift, and the call, of the first two sacraments of Initiation, our Baptism and Confirmation into the life of the risen Christ in his Spirit. In taking part in Communion we also express our common belief in Jesus Christ and everything that His Church teaches.
At the Last Supper Jesus gave his disciples his Body and Blood in the form of bread and wine taken, blessed, broken and shared. He does the same for his disciples each day in the bread and wine taken, blessed, broken and transformed through the power of the Holy Spirit into His Body and Blood, which are shared in the celebration of the Eucharist, or Mass.
As our Bread of Life, Communion is shared each day in the Mass. As the Body and Blood of Christ, Communion brings us into his presence each day. As a sharing in his Body and Blood Communion builds us, the gathered church, into his continued presence and mission in our world today. The challenge is to become what we eat.
Communion typically takes part in the common celebration of the Eucharist also known as the Mass. The Eucharist is “the source, and the summit” of our Christian life:
Where it comes from, Jesus Christ;
and it leads us to, Jesus Christ.
He sustains us with His very self and empowers us to make him present to others by our way of life.
How do I receive Communion?
Communion is received at Mass on a daily basis.
Adults are brought into Communion as the completion of their Initiation (entry) into the Church by Baptism and Confirmation on Easter Night.
Adults already Baptised in another denomination are brought into Communion with a welcome from the Church and a commitment from themselves, often at Easter, after suitable preparation.
Children are brought into Communion by their parents and family after suitable preparation in the parish. There is usually a chance to mark this with a first celebration of Communion in the child’s church community. First Holy Communion usually takes place at age 8-9 years. Keep an eye on the parish newsletter to be informed when registration for the parish led First Communion preparation programme begins. In addition to the newsletter children in one of our Catholic Schools will receive an invitation letter to register for the programme with details of how to register being provided. Please note: we no longer run the programme through our schools. First Communion is an event that affects the entire Body of the Church and is therefore run within the Body of the community i.e. the parish.
The Method of Receiving Communion is a personal choice. You may receive either directly on the tongue, or on the hand by making a ‘throne’ for the Lord by placing your left hand into the palm of your right hand (face up) and presenting them to the priest/deacon/minister. When receiving Communion on the hand, please consume the host in front of the priest/deacon/minister, do not walk off with the host. The practice of self-intinction (dipping the host into the chalice) is not part of the Roman Rite and should never be done unless it is by the hand of the priest under very specific safeguards.
Who can share Communion?
After their first Communion all the faithful are free, and are encouraged, to receive Communion regularly, unless they feel in conscience that they have cut themselves off from the Communion by moral, spiritual or habitual problems or barriers.
How often should I celebrate Communion?
Jesus offers us his Body and Blood as our daily bread, meaning Communion is made available to us each day at Mass. We need this nourishment as often as possible.
Regular Sunday Communion strengthens us, and strengthens our community as the mystical Body of Christ on earth.
Catholics are strongly encouraged to receive Communion every Sunday. Where this is not possible, an act of Spiritual Communion should at least be made. The sick and the housebound are invited to make Communion as frequently as possible according to parish arrangements.
How do I get back into Communion if I feel or know I have cut myself off?
The Sacrament of Reconciliation frees us from sin, and reconciles us to Christ in his Body, the Church.