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Father Muench Says...

The sacrament of the Holy Eucharist

June 2, 2021

By Father William Muench
NCC columnist

Today I would like to take some time with you to consider and remember the importance of the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist for us as Catholics. I want to begin by telling you that I believe in faith all that our Catholic Church teaches about the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. I believe that the Holy Eucharist is truly the Body and Blood of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

On Sunday, June 6, we, as the Church of Christ, celebrate the Feast of “Corpus Christi” – now called “The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ.” This feast reminds us of how sacred and blessed is this Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist is for us.

I believe that the Holy Eucharist was instituted by Jesus at the Last Supper. The Gospel writers describe for us the sacredness of that moment. Jesus wants to unite himself in a perfect way with his apostles. I believe that Jesus wants to continue to unite himself with us today through the reception of the Lord’s Body and Blood in Holy Communion. I believe that Jesus is truly present in the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.

In John 6, Jesus says, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven… unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you.”

Each time the Church celebrates Mass and the Holy Eucharist, we are all united with the Lord Our God in a very special way. The Eucharist that we celebrate is a time of gratitude. We express our gratitude to God for his place in our lives. We are grateful to this loving Savior, who unites himself to us in such a miraculous way. Jesus becomes one with us. We each become a different person. Each time we participate in the Mass, each time we unite ourselves with the Lord in Holy Communion, we are transformed ourselves. Each time we walk into a church to join in the Mass, we become a different person. We leave that church transformed. We have to. How could we participate in such an experience without being transformed?

The Mass is a sacrifice. Jesus Christ, through the priest celebrating the Mass, makes present sacramentally his saving, sacrificial death on the cross by which he redeemed our sins. The offering of Christ unites the members of the Lord here on earth and those in heaven. The Mass is a sacred banquet that culminates in the reception of Holy Communion. Holy Communion increases our union with Christ. Holy Communion nourishes our spiritual life.

God has blessed my life with my ordination as a priest. I have been called to bring the Holy Eucharist to the people of God. During this time of the Church year, this season of Pentecost, many receive ordination as priests. These new priests are truly called, as I was, to say the words of Jesus at the altar, to consecrate the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus and to bring the Holy Eucharist to people in many parishes.

This experience has been mine. Like these newly ordained priests, I remember well and continue to thank God for my vocation to celebrate Holy Mass and to bring Jesus to the people of a parish through the sacraments of the Church.

Recently, two of the priests of our Diocese of Ogdensburg, Father Richard Sturtz and Monsignor Harry Snow, died. Many of you know them, and they were your friends. They were exceptional priests. Father Sturtz was a faculty member at Wadhams Hall for a time and then became a dedicated pastor of several parishes. Father Snow was a wise director of the diocesan Office of Canonical Affairs and also a dedicated pastor to several parishes. I know their greatest joy as priests of the Lord Jesus was to bring the Lord Jesus to the people of their parishes through the celebration of the Blessed Eucharist at Mass.

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