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September 2018



The Eucharist


When was the first Eucharist celebrated?

The Christian tradition holds and the Catholic faith will always uphold that the first Eucharist was the Last Supper. At that moment Christ changed the bread that they ate and the wine that they drank into his body and blood respectively. It is fitting that it is named Eucharist which means thanksgiving (Greek) for it was a sacrifice; Christ’s perfect sacrifice for all of us. The institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper can be found in Matthew 26:26-28, Mark 14:22-24, Luke 22:19-20 and 1 Corinthians. 11:23-26.


Where is the Eucharist in the Bible?

The clearest expressions of the real Presence in Scripture are in 1 Corinthians 10:14-17, 1 Corinthians 11:23-42, and John 6:22-69.


The Bread of Life Discourse

The sixth chapter of John contains what is often called the “Bread of Life discourse.” Jesus tells his audience that he is the bread that comes down from heaven (6:33-35). Many people complain because they object to Jesus’ statement that he came down from heaven, when they know his earthly origins (6:42). Instead of answering their objections, Jesus gets more explicit about what it means to say that he is the bread from heaven. He proclaims that those who eat this bread will not die, but will live forever. The objection to his statement stops being about Jesus coming down from heaven. Instead, people begin to murmur against the idea that Jesus could give people his flesh to eat (6:52).

People have so much difficulty accepting this teaching that many of them leave Jesus forever (6:66). Instead of explaining that he was only speaking metaphorically, Jesus lets them leave. Would he have done that if he had been speaking figuratively?


The Witness of St. Paul

In his first letter to the Corinthians, one of the earliest writings in the New Testament, St. Paul affirms that the Eucharist is truly the body of Christ. He asks a rhetorical question: “The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?” (10:16). Shortly after, he says, “Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord” (11:27). This would be a harsh statement indeed if it were referring only to a symbol. Paul further clarifies that when we receive the Eucharist, we must discern the body of the Lord (11:27).


You don’t really think that wafer is Jesus, do you?

It depends on when you are speaking of that wafer. Before it is consecrated it is just a wafer, but after the priest re-enacts the Last Supper then it is truly the body and blood of Jesus Christ. This is also known as the Real Presence. The Church has maintained since the time of the apostles that the bread that is broken and the wine that is poured becomes the actual body and blood, not that Jesus is present with the bread and the wine, nor that they are merely a symbol. In the Eucharist Christ is truly, wholly, and substantially present.


How can the Eucharist be Jesus when it still looks like bread and wine?

The Church has always believed in the Eucharist. You can find clear teaching on the Eucharist in the Bible and in the early Church Fathers. Even so, the Church’s understanding of how the bread and wine become Jesus’ body and blood has developed over time. St. Thomas Aquinas, using categories from Aristotle, developed the term transubstantiation to describe this change.

Everything has a substance, what it is in its nature and essence, and accidents, the traits that go along with it. A human being has a substance: you are the same person as an embryo, a toddler, a teenager, and an elderly person. Yet your accidents change: you grow, increase in understanding, cut your hair, develop wrinkles, etc. At the age of 80, no one might be able to recognize you as the same person you were at 18, but you are the same person.

Bread and wine has a substance that makes it bread and wine. It also has accidents: the taste, touch, smell, and sight of bread and wine. When the priest consecrates the Eucharist, the accidents of the bread and wine remain the same (with rare exceptions occurring in Eucharistic miracles). Yet the substance of the bread and wine has been transformed into the substance of Jesus Christ, in his Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.

St. Thomas Aquinas describes this in a spiritual sense by saying that in the Eucharist, all of our senses are deceived except for hearing. We see, touch, taste, and smell bread and wine, but we hear the words of Christ telling us the truth of his presence in the Eucharist.


What are the fruits of Holy Communion?

Why is the Eucharist sometimes called Communion? The Eucharist augments our union with Christ; we are joined in a union with Christ and his Church through the Eucharist.

“The principal fruit of receiving the Eucharist in Holy Communion is an intimate union with Christ Jesus. Indeed, the Lord said: ‘He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.’ Life in Christ has its foundation in the Eucharistic banquet: ‘As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me.'”
(Catechism of the Catholic Church 1391).

Also, Holy Communion separates us from sin, wipes away venial sin and preserves us from future mortal sins.

Sometimes people feel a deep sense of peace when they receive the Eucharist. This is a gift from God, too. However, a lack of emotion when you receive the Eucharist does not mean that you are doing something wrong or that you are not receiving the fruits of Holy Communion.


What are the requirements to receive the Eucharist?

Because the Eucharist is so important, the Church teaches that there are certain requirements someone must meet to be able to receive the Eucharist at Mass.

The person must be Catholic (Eastern Orthodox are also allowed to receive).

The person must be in a state of grace (i.e. not be aware of any unconfessed mortal sins).

The person must have fasted for at least one hour before receiving the Eucharist. Drinking water is okay, but for anything else to be acceptable, it must be medically necessary.


Why can’t Protestants receive the Eucharist at a Catholic Mass?

The Eucharist is a great gift that allows us an unparalleled union with Jesus Christ. However, another element of the communion in the Eucharist is communion with the Church. When we receive the Eucharist, we are saying, “I am in communion with the Church that has been entrusted with this Eucharist.” For someone who is not in union with the Catholic Church, receiving the Eucharist would be a lie. Likewise, Catholics should not receive communion at Protestant churches.


What is the form and matter of this sacrament?

The form for the Eucharist is when the priest repeats the words of Jesus saying: “This is my body…” and “This is my blood….” And, if you haven’t guessed by now the matter is wheat bread and grape wine.


Do Catholics have trouble with this belief?

Yes, in fact there are two stumbling blocks for all Christians; the Eucharist and the Cross. These are the same mysteries that have been a cause of division for centuries. Our Catechism says:

The first announcement of the Eucharist divided the disciples, just as the announcement of the Passion scandalized them: “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” The Eucharist and the Cross are stumbling blocks. It is the same mystery and it never ceases to be an occasion of division. “Will you also go away?”: the Lord’s question echoes through the ages, as a loving invitation to discover that only he has “the words of eternal life” and that to receive in faith the gift of his Eucharist is to receive the Lord himself.
(Catechism of the Catholic Church 1336)


How many times per day can someone receive Holy Communion?

Holy Communion can be received twice a day. The second time one receives it, it must be during a Eucharistic celebration (a.k.a. Mass). If someone is dying, they can receive it for a third time that day as Viaticum. After one receives it for the first time in his/her life he/she is obliged to receive it at least once per year during the Easter season. However, the Church strongly encourages the faithful to receive the Eucharist on all Sundays, feast days and even daily (if possible).


Why is the Eucharist referred to as the “source and summit of our faith?”

Let us turn to one of the documents of Vatican II, Presbyterorum Ordinis (Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests) Paragraph 5:

“The other sacraments, as well as with every ministry of the Church and every work of the apostolate, are tied together with the Eucharist and are directed toward it. The Most Blessed Eucharist contains the entire spiritual boon of the Church, that is, Christ himself, our Pasch and living bread, by the action of the Holy Spirit through his very flesh vital and vitalizing, giving life to men who are thus invited and encouraged to offer themselves, their labours and all created things together with him. In this light the Eucharist shows itself as the source and apex of the whole work of the preaching of the Gospel.”





Every seven days, the Church celebrates the Easter mystery. This tradition goes back to the time of the Apostles. It takes its origin from the actual day of Christ’s Resurrection. Sunday extends the celebration of Easter throughout the year. It is meant to be illumined by the glory of the Risen Christ. It makes present the new creation brought about by Christ.

Sunday recalls the creation of the world. The Genesis account of creation, expressed in poetic style, is a hymn of awe and adoration of God in the presence of the immensity of creation.

The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council explained how we should celebrate the Eucharist on Sunday or its vigil on Saturday evening:

“The Church, therefore, earnestly desires that Christ’s faithful, when present at this mystery, should not be strangers or silent spectators. On the contrary, through a good understanding of the rites and prayers they should take part in the sacred action, conscious of what they are doing, with devotion and full collaboration. They should be instructed by God’s word and be nourished at the table of the Lord’s Body. They should give thanks to God. Offering the immaculate victim, not only through the hands of the priest, but also together with him, they should learn to offer themselves. Through Christ, the Mediator,

they should be drawn day by day into ever more perfect union with God and with each other, so that finally God may be all in all.




World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation 1st September




To my Venerable Brothers

Cardinal Peter Kodwo Appiah TURKSON, 
President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace

Cardinal Kurt KOCH, 
President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity

Sharing the concern of my beloved brother, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, for the future of creation (cf. Laudato Si’, 7-9) and at the suggestion of his representative, Metropolitan Ioannis of Pergamum, who took part in the presentation of the Encyclical Laudato Si’ on care for our common home, I wish to inform you that I have decided to institute in the Catholic Church the “World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation” which, beginning this year, is to be celebrated on 1 September, as has been the custom in the Orthodox Church for some time.

As Christians we wish to contribute to resolving the ecological crisis which humanity is presently experiencing. In doing so, we must first rediscover in our own rich spiritual patrimony the deepest motivations for our concern for the care of creation. We need always to keep in mind that, for believers in Jesus Christ, the Word of God who became man for our sake, “the life of the spirit is not dissociated from the body or from nature or from worldly realities, but lived in and with them, in communion with all that surrounds us” (Laudato Si’,216). The ecological crisis thus summons us to a profound spiritual conversion: Christians are called to “an ecological conversion whereby the effects of their encounter with Jesus Christ become evident in their relationship with the world around them” (ibid., 217). For “living our vocation to be protectors of God’s

handiwork is essential to a life of virtue; it is not an optional or a secondary aspect of our Christian experience” (ibid.).

The annual World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation will offer individual believers and communities a fitting opportunity to reaffirm their personal vocation to be stewards of creation, to thank God for the wonderful handiwork which he has entrusted to our care, and to implore his help for the protection of creation as well as his pardon for the sins committed against the world in which we live. The celebration of this Day, on the same date as the Orthodox Church, will be a valuable opportunity to bear witness to our growing communion with our Orthodox brothers and sisters. We live at a time when all Christians are faced with the same decisive challenges, to which we must respond together, in order to be more credible and effective. It is my hope that this Day will in some way also involve other Churches and ecclesial Communities, and be celebrated in union with similar initiatives of the World Council of Churches.

I ask you, Cardinal Turkson, as President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, to inform the Justice and Peace Commissions of the Bishops’ Conferences, as well as the national and international organizations involved in environmental issues, of the establishment of the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation, so that, with due regard for local needs and situations, it can be properly celebrated with the participation of the entire People of God: priests, men and women religious and the lay faithful. For this reason, it will be the task of your Council, in cooperation with the various Episcopal Conferences, to arrange suitable ways of publicizing and celebrating the Day, so that this annual event will become a significant occasion for prayer, reflection, conversion and the adoption of appropriate lifestyles.

I ask you, Cardinal Koch, as President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, to make the necessary contacts with the Ecumenical Patriarchate and with other ecumenical organizations so that this World Day can serve as a sign of a common journey in which all believers in Christ take part. It will also be your Council’s responsibility to ensure that it is coordinated with similar initiatives undertaken by the World Council of Churches.

In expressing my hope that, as a result of wide cooperation, the World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation will be inaugurated and develop in the best way possible, I invoke upon this initiative the intercession of Mary, Mother of God, and of Saint Francis of Assisi, whose Canticle of the Creatures inspires so many men and women of goodwill to live in praise of the Creator and with respect for creation. As a pledge of spiritual fruitfulness, I impart my Apostolic Blessing to you, Eminent Brothers, and to all those who share in your ministry.

From the the Vatican, 6 August 2015 Feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord.





Dates for your diary.....


Saturday October 20th


Fr. John Harris OP & Fr. Seamus Tuohy OP will talk on....

Mary, Mother of the Redeemer

“Mary’s role in the story of our redemption was no side show. As she was central then she remains so for us today.”

Venue: St. Mary’s Pastoral Centre, 368 Rua do Murtal, São Pedro do Estoril.


First Communion

First Communion preparation will commence on Sunday 30th September in N.S. Navegantes Cascais.

Class will be from 10.45am -11.45am each Sunday.

Contact: Fr. David, Tessa Brito, Charlotte Robinson.

Children’s liturgy will also commence on Sunday 30th September.


St. Mary’s Pastoral Centre

St. Mary’s will be closed until further notice to facilitate essential repairs.




“The essential fact of Christianity is that God thought all men worth the sacrifice of his Son.”

William Barclay

Scottish theologian, religious writes and broadcaster