While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, “Take and eat; this is my body.”
For Catholics, the Eucharist (consecrated bread and wine given out at Mass) is the literal body and blood of Jesus Christ. It is not just a symbol but the actual body and blood of our Lord, as he told his disciples at the Last Supper.
During Mass, the priest consecrates the host (communion wafer or “bread”) and wine. The Holy Spirit enters into the bread and wine and it becomes the body and blood of Jesus. This process is called “transubstantiation.” This is why Catholics believe the Mass is the “source and summit” of Christian life; because we are being actually nourished by Jesus in his ongoing giving of his life to us!
While not everyone may receive the Eucharist at Mass, as Catholics we believe it is our baptismal call to bring ourselves and others into a closer relationship with Christ. Visit our online directory of parishes to find out when and where you may join us in the celebration of Mass.
On Holy Thursday, the Precious Blood will be returned to Holy Communion. For a fuller appreciation of this gift, read our frequently asked questions about the Precious Blood.