Eucharist the Greatest of the Seven Sacraments

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Eucharist The greatest of the seven sacraments is the Holy Eucharist. The Catholic Church teaches that in the Eucharist, Our Lord Jesus Christ, true God and true man, is really present under the appearances of bread and wine. Our Lord is not merely symbolized by the bread and wine; nor is he present only through the faith of those present. Rather, the two material things, bread and wine, are completely changed into the body and blood of Jesus Christ, leaving behind only their sensible appearances. Thus, through the words of consecration spoken by the priest, Jesus, without ceasing to be present in a natural way in heaven, is also present sacramentally, body, blood, soul and divinity, in many places throughout the world. The Eucharist is not only a sacrament but also a sacrifice. In it Jesus, acting through the priest, makes present again in an unbloody manner the sacrifice which he offered once for all by shedding his blood on Calvary. In Holy Communion, by obeying Jesus' command to eat his flesh and drink his blood, the faithful are also united spiritually with Jesus himself, and they unite their own prayers, works and sufferings to his perfect sacrifice. Holy Communion A special union of the soul with Christ. When the consecrated species is physically united with the communicant, the Eucharist confers actual graces to make acts of love for God and one's neighbor. It also curbs all disordered passions and confers a new title to the final resurrection of the body in heavenly glory. A final effect of Communion is to remove the personal guilt of venial sins, and the temporal punishment due to forgiven sins. *

In the Catholic Church the term minister enjoys a variety of usages. It most commonly refers to the person, whether lay or ordained, who is commissioned to perform some act on behalf of the Church. It is not a particular office or rank of clergy, as is the case in some other churches, but minister may be used as a collective term for vocational or professional pastoral leaders including clergy (bishops, deacons, priests) and non-clergy (theologians and lay ecclesial ministers). It is also used in reference to the canonical and liturgical administration of sacraments, as part of some offices, and with reference to the exercercise of the lay apostolate. Lay ministers In a general sense, any Christian exercising a ministry is a minister. Since all the baptised are part of the universal priesthood, whenever they engage in

their vocation to evenagelize the world and to help those in need, they are ministers. Liturgical lay ministries include lectors (Ministers of the Word) who proclaim scriptural (the Bible) passages during the Eucharist, altar servers and acolytes who assist the presider at the altar, cantors and music ministers who lead the singing, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion who serve during Mass and/or who take Holy Communion to the sick and homebound, and ushers or ministers of hospitality who direct the seating and procession of the assembly. Catechetical lay ministries include catechists (Sunday school teachers and teachers at Catholic schools), dismissal leaders (ministers who lead RCIA catechumens on Sundays), retreat leaders, youth group leaders, and Scout religious emblems counselors. Other lay ministries include those who work with charitable activities, pastoral care and outreach, or advocacy for social justice. Ecclesial ministers Some persons within the church are called by God and the assembly to serve as ministers to the whole people of God. These people respond to this vocation by receiving the proper formation, usually including graduate studies in theology or divinity, and then exercising some leadership role in the community. In common usage, when someone refers to a "minister of the church" they are referring to any one of these "professional" ministers. The Catholic Church identifies five ecclesial vocations, three of which are ordained. Theologians and lay ecclesial ministers are not necessarily ordained, while bishops, presbyters, and deacons are ordained. While only the later are considered clergy by the Catholic Church, all are considered ministers in the professional and vocational sense. Sacramental ministers The other kind of minister in Catholic parlance is a person who ministers a sacrament, meaning that he or she is a conduit of sacramental grace. This is not an office or position but instead a function that different kinds of people may perform, depending on the sacrament. There are two kinds of ministers in this sense. The ordinary minister of a sacrament has both the spiritual power to perform the sacrament (i.e. a valid sacrament) and the canonical authority to perform the sacrament (i.e. a licit sacrament). By way of example, the priest is the only minister of the Eucharist[2]. If a priest is, for some reason, debarred [3] and yet still celebrates the Eucharist, he does so illicitly (i.e. against Canon Law) but the Eucharist is still valid. However, in terms of the sacraments of Catholic marriage and Reconciliation (the Sacrament of Penance), although the priest is the ordinary minister, he must have permission from the appropriate authority if he is to celebrate these sacraments validly [4]

An extraordinary minister (Latin: minister extraordinarius) has the spiritual power but may only perform the sacrament in certain special instances under canon law. If an extraordinary minister performs a sacrament illicitly, the sacrament is effective but the person ministering could be liable for an ecclestiastical penalty, such as an interdict. By way of example, an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion is authorised to bring Holy Communion within a particular parish or diocese. If a minister brings Holy Communion to someone outside of the authorised area, it is done illicitly, but the person still receives Holy Communion. If a person who is not an ordinary minister attempts to celebrate certain sacraments it is considered to be invalid. Sacramental ministers The other kind of minister in Catholic parlance is a person who ministers a sacrament, meaning that he or she is a conduit of sacramental grace. This is not an office or position but instead a function that different kinds of people may perform, depending on the sacrament. There are two kinds of ministers in this sense. The ordinary minister of a sacrament has both the spiritual power to perform the sacrament (i.e. a valid sacrament) and the canonical authority to perform the sacrament (i.e. a licit sacrament). By way of example, the priest is the only minister of the Eucharist[2]. If a priest is, for some reason, debarred [3] and yet still celebrates the Eucharist, he does so illicitly (i.e. against Canon Law) but the Eucharist is still valid. However, in terms of the sacraments of Catholic marriage and Reconciliation (the Sacrament of Penance), although the priest is the ordinary minister, he must have permission from the appropriate authority if he is to celebrate these sacraments validly [4] An extraordinary minister (Latin: minister extraordinarius) has the spiritual power but may only perform the sacrament in certain special instances under canon law. If an extraordinary minister performs a sacrament illicitly, the sacrament is effective but the person ministering could be liable for an ecclestiastical penalty, such as an interdict. By way of example, an extraordinary minister of Holy Communion is authorised to bring Holy Communion within a particular parish or diocese. If a minister brings Holy Communion to someone outside of the authorised area, it is done illicitly, but the person still receives Holy Communion. If a person who is not an ordinary minister attempts to celebrate certain sacraments it is considered to be invalid.

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