Celebrating the Eucharist
Welcome - whether you are curious about the Catholic celebration of Eucharist or are a parishioner reflecting on Sunday Mass - we hope the following information is of help:
- What is Sunday Mass
- Growing in faith - life-long learning about Sunday Eucharist
- Preparing as a parish to celebrate Sunday Mass well
What is Sunday Mass?
One of the central parts of Jesus ministry was what we call table fellowship. Jesus sat at table with people who wanted to sit with him. There he spoke words of Good News to them, prayed and practised hospitality. When Jesus appeared to his apostles after the Ressurection, they ate together. In the early church, disciples continued to go to the Temple to hear Gods Word and pray with the community, and they also met in one anothers house to break bread together. It was clear to them from the beginning that when they 'broke bread together' that Jesus was with them in a particular and special way.
Gather together - Listen to the Word of God -
Break bread together - Go out and live as Jesus disciples
From the beginning, Christians have held Sunday as our Holy Day, and Eucharist as our central prayer.
- If you would like to know more about the outline or Order of the Mass, this reflection might be of help
- Heres a link to help you to find your local parish church in Limerick Diocese.
“In the early years of the Church, a bishop in Syria wrote a little instruction book for himself and other bishops. Here is one crucial task he set for bishops:
Exhort the people to be faithful to the assembly of the Church. Let them not fail to attend, but let them gather faithfully together. Let no one deprive the Church by staying away; if they do, they deprive the Body of Christ of one of its members! (Didascalia, chapter 13)
We are centuries later, oceans apart. We are separated from that Christian Church in third-century Syria by theologies and technologies. But what we have in common surmounts all that: we the Church assemble on the Lord's Day, and that assembly, in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, speaks and listens to the Word of God, makes holy and is made holy by its Eucharistic praying and the sacred banquet of Holy Communion”
From: "Gather faithfully together: A guide for Sunday Mass". Cardinal Roger Mahoney, Archbishop of Los Angeles.
The following RESOURCES may be of help to you as you reflect on Eucharist. (Click the titles!)
- ‘Gather faithfully together’ – Cardinal Mahony, Diocese of Los Angeles
- Celebrating the Eucharist - a simple booklet outling the Order of the Mass, its actions, purpose & prayers, with questions for liturgy groups to reflect on.
- To Rekindle the Amazement - a Pastoral reflecting on the Eucharist and our faith journey.
- Two radio shows exploring Sunday Mass are available to listen to HERE (From shows on May 29th and June 5th 2011)
Sunday Mass is the place where we gather as a parish, as a community, as a People of God. For the vast majority of Irish Catholics, it is the only place we formally gather as church. So it seems obvious that Sunday Mass should be the focus of parish ministry & mission.
“But if Mass – particulary weekend Mass, funerals & Christmas – is to be central to pastoral strategy, there is one indispensible foundation. We ourselves must learn to view Mass differently. Making Mass central is not about doing something with the Mass in order to make a certain imact on some of those present. Rather it is about looking at Mass differently for ourselves. In this sense ‘outreach’ is ‘inreach’. The starting point is our own experience. If we ourselves – meaning the familiar faces who regularly attend – transform our own way of seeing the Mass, then it will become a qualitatively different experience for us. And that is what will be experienced by anybody who happens to be there”
Donal Harrington, The Welcoming Parish, Pg 191-102. Columba Press
Even after years of faithful gathering, we can learn more about Eucharist and about how God is with us in a special way as we gather to pray. It is good and appropriate that adult Catholics regularly take time to reflect on and grow in understanding about the great mystery that Jesus Christ has given us in the Eucharist.