At the heart of our worship is belief in the holy Eucharist, the source and summit of the Christian life
By Supreme Chaplain Archbishop William E. Lori
WITH EACH MONTH, our hope grows stronger that the COVID-19 pandemic will pass into the history books. Parish priests would like nothing better than to fill their churches — every row — with their parishioners. At the same time, many priests worry that some parishioners, no longer in the habit of attending Mass in person, may not return. This is a valid concern, but it did not start with COVID. For decades, the percentage of Catholics who participate weekly in Sunday Mass has been dropping. So too, the percentage of Catholics who understand and accept the Church’s eucharistic faith has declined.
Each June, the feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, or Corpus Christi, is an opportunity for us to revive our faith in the Eucharist. It is an opportunity to test the soundness of our eucharistic faith, to assess how devoted we are to this mystery and how ready we are to share it with others.
Naturally, I cannot do justice to the breadth, depth and beauty of the Church’s eucharistic faith in a short column, but I would like to share some highlights. For example, what place does Sunday Mass occupy in our life of faith? Sunday Mass is more than an obligation; it should be the heart of our faith. From the Mass, we draw grace and strength to live as followers of Christ and as members of the Church. And we return to Mass each Sunday, bringing to the Lord all that we have experienced in the previous days — our successes and failures in living the Gospel and sharing it with others. Just as bread and wine are offered to the Lord, so too we offer him our lives, asking that they be purified and made acceptable in his sight.
‘Sunday Mass is more than an obligation; it should be the heart of our faith. From the Mass, we draw grace and strength to live as followers of Christ and as members of the Church.’
Do we understand what is happening at holy Mass? Sometimes, even lifelong Catholics tell me that they really do not understand the Mass. When the prayers of the Mass refer to the “banquet of Christ’s sacrifice” or to the Paschal Mystery, many participants are bewildered, as if the priest is speaking a foreign language. There is a massive need for sound catechesis, for instruction, about the Mass — about what unfolds before our eyes of faith as holy Mass is celebrated. I am convinced that many have walked away from the Eucharist without really knowing what it is. READ MORE…