About Holy Communion

Jesus recognized that eating and drinking, the most common gestures of the human condition, assume a particular meaning when experienced in community. Eating and drinking bring about a sense of unity, a communion. In accepting the invitation to eat and drink, we form a union with the one offering the invitation.

Jesus invited us to ” take and eat…take and drink” and in the process to enter into an intimate relationship with Him. The communion we share is a prelude to the heavenly banquet. Many Catholics have been satisfied to receive Him under the species of bread alone. The church teaches that we receive the full Christ when we receive the Consecrated Host alone. However, the Church, (General Instruction of the Roman Missal, no. 240) also says:

The sign of communion is more complete when given under both kinds, since the sign of the Eucharistic meal appears more clearly. The intention of Christ that the new and eternal covenant be ratified in his blood is better expressed, as is the relation of the Eucharistic banquet to the heavenly banquet.

So that this “fuller light” may fall upon the import of Christ’s words at the Last Supper and in the Eucharistic prayer, and for the sake of the faithful greater participation in the mystery, communion under both kinds is to be desired in all celebrations of the Mass, although this is not always possible. For this sacred rite, the sign of the Eucharistic meal stands out more explicitly,” and the act of drinking the consecrated wine, the blood of Christ, strengthens the faith of the communicants in the sacrificial nature of the Mass. Communion under both kinds can, therefore, manifest more fully the nature of the Mass both as a sacrifice and as a sacred Meal belonging to the same mystery, to such an extent that they are linked to one another by a very close theological and sacramental bond (Except from This Holy and Living Sacrifice:Directory for the Reception of Communion under Both Kinds, no. 19, United States Catholic Conference of Catholic Bishops)

The Church, our Bishop and our Pastor all desire that the opportunity for communion under both species be available to the faithful at every celebration of the Eucharist. Therefore, we will begin Holy Communion from the Chalice at the Catholic Church of the Incarnation.  (???)

Guidelines for Receiving the Eucharist

FAQs:

Must I drink from the cup in order to receive the whole presence of Christ in the Eucharist? No. The Church teaches that Jesus is truly and wholly present both under the sign of bread and under the sign of wine. To receive both is to share in the fuller sign of Christ’s presence.

May I choose to receive only the consecrated bread? Yes, you may. This is a most valid option for all who come to communion. The cup is not a requirement.

Should children receive communion under both kinds? It is our hope that parents will help their younger children make an informed decision whether or not they receive from the cup. The ultimate decision of course should rest with the individual child.  In speaking with your children, you will want to remind them of what Jesus asked us to at the Last Supper. You will also want to be clear that we receive the whole presence of Christ in receiving from either the bread or the cup. Some children may decide to receive from the cup, while others decide to wait until they are older.  It will also be helpful to let your child taste a sip of wine at home so that he or she will know what to expect when receiving from the cup. This familiarity with the taste of wine should help to insure reverent reception from the cup at communion time.

How do I receive communion for the cup? After receiving the Eucharistic bread from the communion minister, simply move to the minister of the cup. This minister will present the cup to you and say, “The Blood of Christ”, and you will answer “Amen”. The communion minister will then hand you the cup, you will take a sip of the consecrated wine, then return the cup to the communion minister. You will then return to your seat. The communion minister will then wipe the place on the cup where you drank with a linen napkin (purificator), rotate the cup a quarter turn, and present the cup to the next communicant.

Isn’t this unhealthy, so many people drinking from one cup? Some reservations regarding communion from the cup stem from the fear of disease and the possible spread of germs. The Rev. Thomas Wlebers, in writing in Our Sunday Visitor, made the following point:   “A few diseases infect through mouth-saliva-mouth contact, but during the cold season or flu epidemic, the faithful Catholic is more likely to get sick merely by breathing the air in Church than be receiving communion from a shared cup.”   A study reported in the May 15, 1997 Florida Catholic showed that after a researcher followed 681 people over a 10-week period, she related at the annual meeting of the American Society for Microbiology that there were no differences in reported illnesses between those who received Communion from the cup, those who did not receive, and those who never attended church.  All of this said, it would be prudent to refrain from the cup when you have the flu or a cold.

Why share the Cup? The Bread, the Body of Christ, does not cease to mean the nourishing fruit of the earth and the good tasting work of human hands when we take it in Holy Communion. The wine, the Blood of Christ, does not cease to mean the delight, festivity and communion with each other. Christ’s body and blood are bound up in creation, in fruitfulness, in human work, in communal rejoicing, in redemption. Wine nourishes our thirsty spirits. It is a spiritual drink. By taking the cup, we express the deepest fellowship with the Lord Jesus even in the sharing of His death. Such diverse things – the delight of fellowship, the communion in His death! The cup, shared among us, brings these together. (Excerpt from Take this, all of you and drink from it…, Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions).

What about intinction or dipping the host in the chalice? The National Conference of Catholic Bishops in their letter, The Body of Christ, said this about the practice: “although Communion under both kinds by intinction continues to be an authorized way of distribution, it has minimal sign value because it is contrary to the Gospel account of the institution where there is drinking from the one cup without any attempt to unite the two Eucharistic elements” Moreover, such a practice impedes the option which the faithful have of choosing whether to receive Communion in the hand or on the tongue. The communicant may never dip the Eucharistic bread into the chalice. Communion under either the form of bread or wine must always be given by a minister with the usual words.

Guidelines for Receiving 1st Eucharist

Children and Teens

(Ages 7-17)

Interested in preparing for your 1st Eucharist? Wonderful! Incarnation Catholic Church is very happy to help prepare you to receive the Eucharist for the first time. We look forward to walking with you in this preparation process!

Firstly, when children and teens prepare to receive their 1st Eucharist, they are also prepared to receive their 1st Reconciliation/1st Confession. In the one year preparation process, children/teens receive both sacraments for the first time.

In order to begin the preparation process for receiving 1st Eucharist and 1st Reconciliation, children/teens must be at least 7 years of age, and they must be baptized.

  • If the child/teen is not yet baptized, please click here to learn more about how to have a child/teen baptized.

Before registering for the 1st Eucharist and 1st Reconciliation preparation process, children/teens must have completed one year of Faith Formation (such as attending one year of Catholic School religion classes, or one year Sunday School/CCD/Faith Formation classes). Also, during the preparation process, children/teens must also be enrolled in Faith Formation classes (or attending a Catholic school).

Concerning the 1st Eucharist and 1st Reconciliation Preparation Process for children and teens (Ages 7-17), below are the guidelines for Incarnation Catholic Church:

  • This preparation process is a parent and child/teen process. Both the child/teen and a parent should attend all events, unless otherwise specified.
  • Registration for this process is held in August-September every year.
  • The first event is a Parent gathering to speak about the coming year of preparation (This is a ‘parents-only’ meeting. Please do not bring children/teens to this parent gathering).
  • In the fall, there will be several workshops on 1st Reconciliation, and in January, the children will receive their 1st Reconciliation.
  • Then, there will be a Jesus Day Retreat for the children.
  • Next, there will be several spring workshops on 1st Eucharist, and after Easter, the children will receive their 1st Eucharist.

For more information about the 1st Eucharist and 1st Reconciliation preparation process for Children and Teens (Ages 7-17), please contact Philomena Johnson at pjohnson@icctampa.org  or (813) 885-7861.

Adults

(Ages 18 and older)

Interested in preparing for your 1st Eucharist? Wonderful! Incarnation Catholic Church is very happy to help prepare you to receive the Eucharist for the first time. We look forward to walking with you in this preparation process!

Adults who wish to receive their 1st Eucharist and 1st Reconciliation prepare for these sacraments through a process called The Rites of Christian Initiation for Adults’ or R.C.I.A. In the R.C.I.A. process, adults are welcomed into a journey of faith where all are given the opportunity to deepen their faith and strengthen their relationship with Christ. Once the adults have been prepared and are ready, adults receive the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist/Holy Communion at the Easter Vigil Mass (or another appropriate date). Adults receive the sacrament of Reconciliation for the first time shortly before or after the Easter Vigil Mass.

If you would like to begin the R.C.I.A. process or know more about this process, contact Carmen Cayon at ccayon@icctampa.org or call (813)885-7861.