The Celebration of the Eucharist is the “source and summit” of Christian life. All our prayer and worship finds its meaning in the Eucharist. All our service and evangelization conforms us and draws others deeper into the Paschal Mystery made truly present in the Eucharist. All baptized Catholics, free from grave sin, and having fasted at least one hour are invited and encouraged to receive Our Lord in Holy Communion.
We worship God who is sacramentally present in the Eucharist. Through the eyes faith rooted in Scripture and informed by the Sacred Tradition handed down from the apostles, Catholics discern the presence of Jesus in the Eucharistic elements, in the gathered worshipping community, in the ministry of the priest, and in Sacred Scripture. The Eucharist is unique, however, in that Our Lord is really and substantially present under the appearances of bread and wine, which have truly become his Body and Blood. It is for this reason that we show the highest honor and respect to the Eucharist, reserving it conspicuously in our Church for the Communion of the Sick and adoration of the Eucharist outside of Mass.
On Fridays, after the morning Mass until 5 pm, our parish offers Eucharistic Exposition and Adoration. On First Fridays of the month, adoration goes until 7 am the following (Saturday) morning. While parishioners are always welcomed to come to the Church to pray before the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle, Eucharistic Adoration is a privileged time to meditate on the mystery of God’s abiding presence with us, the new and everlasting covenant he offers his people through the Eucharist, and God’s desire that all men and women through space and time be gathered by his sacrifice.
Regrettably, divisions within the Christian Church do not allow us to invite Christians of other denominations to share Eucharist with us. Catholics believe that the Celebration of the Eucharist expresses a oneness of faith, life, and worship, which is simply not present between our Churches. All are invited to pray for that day that, according to Christ’s command, “they may all be one.” (Jn 17:21) For a fuller explanation of why the Church asks Catholics to follow these rules, and for why Catholics cannot share communion with other non-Catholic Christians, please follow this external link.
First Communion is offered to children in the second grade (or older) attending theParish School of Religion program.
Parish Clergy and Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion regularly take the Eucharist to the sick, nursing home residents, and shut-ins. Extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion also assist the priest and deacon at Mass, offering Holy Communion to the faithful. To inquire about this ministry or to make arrangements to receive Eucharist in the hospital or at home, please call the parish office at (217) 544-4554.
-- External Links --
The Sacrament of the Eucharist (from the Catechism of the Catholic Church)
The Encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia of Pope John Paul II, 2003 (via Vatican.va)
An article about Ecclesia de Eucharistia (via Catholic Answers)
How to Receive the Eucharist (via Catholic Answers)
The Church Fathers on the Real Presence (via Catholic Answers)
Who can Receive Communion? (via Catholic Answers)
The Institution of the Mass (via Catholic Answers)
Eucharistic Change (on the doctrine of transubstantiation) by Herbert McCabe
Worship of the Eucharist Outside Mass (via the Real Presence Association)
Catholic Encyclopedia (1917) articles on Altar Bread and Altar Wine (via New Advent)