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Catholics believe the Eucharist, or Communion, is both a sacrifice and a meal. We believe in the real presence of Jesus, who died for our sins. As we receive Christ's Body and Blood, we also are nourished spiritually and brought closer to God.

Special Features
The Sacraments: Eucharist

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What does the Eucharist mean to you?
We'll post selected responses in this feature.

What the Eucharist Means to Me: Our Readers Respond
As the Year of the Eucharist came to an end, 10 of our readers revealed how their lives were changed by the Body of Christ.

"Eucharist: Food for Mission"
Pope John Paul II's 2004 Message Eucharist and Mission

201 Inspirational Stories of the Eucharist
by Sister Patricia Proctor, O.S.C.

Newsletter Articles:
Catholic Update
"Eucharist: Heart of the Church"
John Paul II's encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia in condensed form

"The Liturgy of the Eucharist"
By William H. Shannon

"The Real Presence: Jesus' Gift to the Church"
by John Bookser Feister

"Eucharist: Sign and Source of Christian Unity"
by Thomas Richstatter, O.F.M.

"Mass and Communion Service: What's the Difference?"
by Thomas Richstatter, O.F.M.

"Eucharist: Understanding Christ's Body"
by William H. Shannon

"Participating Fully at Sunday Mass: An Adaptation of Gather Faithfully Together: A Guide for Sunday Mass"
by Cardinal Roger Mahony

"Real Presence in the Eucharist"
by Jeffrey D. VonLehmen

"First Communion: Joining the Family Table"
by Carol Luebering

"The Sacrament of the Eucharist: What Has Happened to My Devotion?"
by Thomas Richstatter, O.F.M.

"A Walk Through the Mass: A Step-By-Step Explanation"
by Thomas Richstatter, O.F.M

"Is the Mass a Meal?"
by Charles Gusmer

Scripture From Scratch
"Jesus, Bread of Life"
by Virginia Smith

"The Eucharist"
by Thomas Bokenkotter

Youth Update

"Making Mass a Real Celebration: Tips on Planning"
by Thomas Richstatter, O.F.M.

"Eucharist: Say Yes!"
by Mary Cummins Wlodarski

Millennium Monthly
"The Eucharist: A Foretaste of Heaven"
by Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk

"Eucharist: The Mystical Body"
by John Gallen, S.J.

"Eucharist: The Real Presence"
by John Gallen, S.J.

Update Your Faith:

Is Jesus really present in the Eucharist?

May I receive Communion during a service in a non-Catholic church?

May Catholics give holy Communion to non-Catholics?

May I take the host to the cup and dip?

How many times may I receive holy Communion in one day?

How should we prepare for Communion in the home?

FAQs on other Sacraments

Click here to return to the main Sacraments page.

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Benedict Joseph Labre: Benedict Joseph Labre was truly eccentric, one of God's special little ones. Born in France and the eldest of 18 children, he studied under his uncle, a parish priest. Because of poor health and a lack of suitable academic preparation he was unsuccessful in his attempts to enter the religious life. Then, at 16 years of age, a profound change took place. Benedict lost his desire to study and gave up all thoughts of the priesthood, much to the consternation of his relatives. 
<p>He became a pilgrim, traveling from one great shrine to another, living off alms. He wore the rags of a beggar and shared his food with the poor. Filled with the love of God and neighbor, Benedict had special devotion to the Blessed Mother and to the Blessed Sacrament. In Rome, where he lived in the Colosseum for a time, he was called "the poor man of the Forty Hours Devotion" and "the beggar of Rome." The people accepted his ragged appearance better than he did. His excuse to himself was that "our comfort is not in this world." </p><p>On the last day of his life, April 16, 1783, Benedict Joseph dragged himself to a church in Rome and prayed there for two hours before he collapsed, dying peacefully in a nearby house. Immediately after his death the people proclaimed him a saint. </p><p>He was officially proclaimed a saint by Pope Leo XIII at canonization ceremonies in 1883.</p> American Catholic Blog Today offers limitless possibilities for holiness. Lean into His grace. The only thing keeping us from sainthood is ourselves.

Pope Francis!

Why did the pope choose the name Francis? Find out in this new book by Gina Loehr.

The Seven Last Words

By focusing on God's love for humanity expressed in the gift of Jesus, The Last Words of Jesus serves as a rich source of meditation throughout the year.

Visiting Mary
In this book Cragon captures the experience of visiting these shrines, giving us a personal glimpse into each place.
John Paul II

Here is a book to be read and treasured as we witness the recognition given John Paul II as a saint for our times.

The Surprising Pope

Get new insight into this humble and gentle man—Pope John XXIII--who ushered in the Church's massive changes of Vatican II.

Holy Thursday
The Church remembers today both the institution of the Eucharist and our mandate to service.
Wednesday of Holy Week
Today join Catholics around the world in offering prayers for our Pope Emeritus on his 87th birthday.
Tuesday of Holy Week
Today keep in prayer all the priests and ministers throughout the world who will preside at Holy Week services.
Monday of Holy Week
Holy Week reminds us of the price Jesus paid for our salvation. Take time for prayer at home and at church.
Palm Sunday
Holy Week services and prayers invite us to follow Jesus into Jerusalem, experiencing the events of his passion and death.

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