Catechism of the Catholic Church
Part Two: The Celebration of the Christian Mystery
Section Two: The Seven Sacraments of the Church
Chapter One: The Sacraments of Christian Initiation
1212 The Sacraments of Christian Initiation - Baptism, Confirmation, and
the Eucharist - lay the foundations of every Christian life. "The sharing
in the divine nature given to men through the Grace of Christ bears a
certain likeness to the origin, development, and nourishing of natural
life. The faithful are born anew by Baptism, strengthened by the sacrament
of Confirmation, and receive in the Eucharist the food of eternal life. By
means of these sacraments of Christian initiation, they thus receive in
increaSing measure the treasures of the divine life and advance toward the
perfection of charity."
Article One - The Sacrament of Baptism
1213 Holy Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to
life in the Spirit (vitae spiritualis ianua), and the door which gives
access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from Sin and
reborn as sons of God; we become members of Christ, are incorporated into
the Church and made sharers in her mission: "Baptism is the sacrament of
regeneration through water in the word."
I. What is this Sacrament Called?
1214 This sacrament is called Baptism, after the central rite by which it
is carried out: to baptize (Greek baptizein) means to "plunge" or
"immerse"; the "plunge" into the water symbolizes the catechumen's burial
into Christ's death, from which he rises up by resurrection with him, as
"a new creature."
1215 This sacrament is also called "the washing of regeneration and
renewal by the Holy Spirit," for it signifies and actually brings about
the birth of water and the Spirit without which no one "can enter the
kingdom of God."
1216 "This bath is called enlightenment, because those who receive this
[catechetical] instruction are enlightened in their understanding
. . . ." Having received in Baptism the Word, "the true light that enlightens
every man," the person baptized has been "enlightened," he becomes a "son
of light," indeed, he becomes "light" himself:
Baptism is God's most beautiful and magnificent gift....We call it gift,
Grace, anointing, enlightenment, garment of immortality, bath of rebirth,
seal, and most precious gift. It is called gift because it is conferred on
those who bring nothing of their own; Grace Since it is given even to the
guilty; Baptism because Sin is buried in the water; anointing for it is
priestly and royal as are those who are anointed; enlightenment because it
radiates light; clothing Since it veils our shame; bath because it washes;
and seal as it is our guard and the sign of God's Lordship.
II. Baptism in the Economy of Salvation
Prefigurations of Baptism in the Old Covenant
1217 In the liturgy of the Easter Vigil, during the blesSing of the
baptismal water, the Church solemnly commemorates the great events in
salvation history that already prefigured the mystery of Baptism:
Father, you give us Grace through sacramental signs which tell us of the
wonders of your unseen power.
In Baptism we use your gift of water, which you have made a rich symbol of
the Grace you give us in this sacrament.
1218 Since the beginning of the world, water, so humble and wonderful a
creature, has been the source of life and fruitfulness. Sacred Scripture
sees it as "oveshadowed" by the Spirit of God:
At the very dawn of creation your Spirit breathed on the waters, making
them the wellspring of all holiness.
1219 The Church has seen in Noah's ark a prefiguring of salvation by
Baptism, for by it "a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through
The waters of the great flood you made a sign of the waters of Baptism,
that make an end of Sin and a new beginning of goodness.
1220 If water springing up from the earth symbolizes life, the water of
the sea is a symbol of death and so can represent the mystery of the
cross. By this symbolism Baptism signifies communion with Christ's death.
1221 But above all, the crosSing of the Red Sea, literally the liberation
of Israel from the slavery of Egypt, announces the liberation wrought by
You freed the children of Abraham from the slavery of Pharaoh, bringing
them dry-shod through the waters of the Red Sea, to be an image of the
people set free in Baptism.
1222 Finally, Baptism is prefigured in the crosSing of the Jordan River by
which the People of God received the gift of the land promised to
Abraham's descendants, an image of eternal life. The promise of this
blessed inheritance is fulfilled in the New Covenant.
1223 All the Old Covenant prefigurations find their fulfillment in Christ
Jesus. He begins his public life after having himself baptized by St.
John the Baptist in the Jordan. After his resurrection Christ gives
this mission to his apostles: "Go therefore and make disciples of all
nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of
the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded
1224 Our Lord voluntarily submitted himself to the baptism of St. John,
intended for Sinners, in order to "fulfill all righteousness." Jesus'
gesture is a manifestation of his self-emptying. The Spirit who had
hovered over the waters of the first creation descended then on the Christ
as a prelude of the new creation, and the Father revealed Jesus as his
1225 In his Passover Christ opened to all men the fountain of Baptism. He
had already spoken of his Passion, which he was about to suffer in
Jerusalem, as a "Baptism" with which he had to be baptized. The blood
and water that flowed from the pierced side of the crucified Jesus are
types of Baptism and the Eucharist, the sacraments of new life. From
then on, it is possible "to be born of water and the Spirit" in order
to enter the Kingdom of God.
See where you are baptized, see where Baptism comes from, if not from the
cross of Christ, from his death. There is the whole mystery: he died for
you. In him you are redeemed, in him you are saved.
Baptism in the Church
1226 From the very day of Pentecost the Church has celebrated and
administered holy Baptism. Indeed St. Peter declares to the crowd
astounded by his preaching: "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in
the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your Sins; and you shall
receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." The apostles and their
collaborators offer Baptism to anyone who believed in Jesus: Jews, the
God-fearing, pagans. Always, Baptism is seen as connected with faith:
"Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your
household," St. Paul declared to his jailer in Philippi. And the narrative
continues, the jailer "was baptized at once, with all his family."
1227 According to the Apostle Paul, the believer enters through Baptism
into communion with Christ's death, is buried with him, and rises with
Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus
were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism
into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the
Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
The baptized have "put on Christ." Through the Holy Spirit, Baptism is
a bath that purifies, justifies, and sanctifies.
1228 Hence Baptism is a bath of water in which the "imperishable seed" of
the Word of God produces its life-giving effect. St. Augustine says of
Baptism: "The word is brought to the material element, and it becomes a
III. How is the Sacrament of Baptism Celebrated?
1229 From the time of the apostles, becoming a Christian has been
accomplished by a journey and initiation in several stages. This journey
can be covered rapidly or slowly, but certain essential elements will
always have to be present: proclamation of the Word, acceptance of the
Gospel entailing conversion, profession of faith, Baptism itself, the
outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and admission to Eucharistic communion.
1230 This initiation has varied greatly through the centuries according to
circumstances. In the first centuries of the Church, Christian initiation
saw considerable development. A long period of catechumenate included a
series of preparatory rites, which were liturgical landmarks along the
path of catechumenal preparation and culminated in the celebration of the
sacraments of Christian initiation.
1231 Where infant Baptism has become the form in which this sacrament is
usually celebrated, it has become a Single act encapsulating the
preparatory stages of Christian initiation in a very abridged way. By its
very nature infant Baptism requires a post-baptismal catechumenate. Not
only is there a need for instruction after Baptism, but also for the
necessary flowering of baptismal Grace in personal growth. The catechism
has its proper place here.
1232 The second Vatican Council restored for the Latin Church "the
catechumenate for adults, compriSing several distinct steps." The
rites for these stages are to be found in the Rite of Christian Initiation
of Adults (RCIA). The Council also gives permission that: "In mission
countries, in addition to what is furnished by the Christian tradition,
those elements of initiation rites may be admitted which are already in
use among some peoples insofar as they can be adapted to the Christian
1233 Today in all the rites, Latin and Eastern, the Christian initiation
of adults begins with their entry into the catechumenate and reaches its
culmination in a Single celebration of the three sacraments of initiation:
Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist. In the Eastern rites the
Christian initiation of infants also begins with Baptism followed
immediately by Confirmation and the Eucharist, while in the Roman rite it
is followed by years of catechesis before being completed later by
Confirmation and the Eucharist, the summit of their Christian
The mystagogy of the celebration
1234 The meaning and Grace of the sacrament of Baptism are clearly seen in
the rites of its celebration. By following the gestures and words of this
celebration with attentive participation, the faithful are initiated into
the riches this sacrament signifies and actually brings about in each
newly baptized person.
1235 The sign of the cross, on the threshold of the celebration, marks
with the imprint of Christ the one who is going to belong to him and
signifies the Grace of the redemption Christ won for us by his cross.
1236 The proclamation of the Word of God enlightens the candidates and the
assembly with the revealed truth and elicits the response of faith, which
is inseparable from Baptism. Indeed Baptism is "the sacrament of faith" in
a particular way, Since it is the sacramental entry into the life of
1237 Since Baptism signifies liberation from Sin and from its instigator
the devil, one or more exorcisms are pronounced over the candidate. The
celebrant then anoints him with the oil of catechumens, or lays his hands
on him, and he explicitly renounces Satan. Thus prepared, he is able to
confess the faith of the Church, to which he will be "entrusted" by
1238 The baptismal water is consecrated by a prayer of epiclesis (either
at this moment or at the Easter Vigil). The Church asks God that through
his Son the power of the Holy Spirit may be sent upon the water, so that
those who will be baptized in it may be "born of water and the
1239 The essential rite of the sacrament follows: Baptism properly
speaking. It signifies and actually brings about death to Sin and entry
into the life of the Most Holy Trinity through configuration to the
Paschal mystery of Christ. Baptism is performed in the most expressive way
by triple immersion in the baptismal water. However, from ancient times it
has also been able to be conferred by pouring the water three times over
the candidate's head.
1240 In the Latin Church this triple infusion is accompanied by the
minister's words: "N., I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the
Son, and of the Holy Spirit." In the Eastern liturgies the catechumen
turns toward the East and the priest says: "The servant of God, N., is
baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy
Spirit." At the invocation of each person of the Most Holy Trinity, the
priest immerses the candidate in the water and raises him up again.
1241 The anointing with sacred chrism, perfumed oil consecrated by the
bishop, signifies the gift of the Holy Spirit to the newly baptized, who
has become a Christian, that is, one "anointed" by the Holy Spirit,
incorporated into Christ who is anointed priest, prophet, and king.
1242 In the liturgy of the Eastern Churches, the post-baptismal anointing
is the sacrament of Chrismation (Confirmation). In the Roman liturgy the
post- baptismal anointing announces a second anointing with sacred chrism
to be conferred later by the bishop Confirmation, which will as it were
"confirm" and complete the baptismal anointing.
1243 The white garment symbolizes that the person baptized has "put on
Christ," has risen with Christ. The candle, lit from the Easter
candle, signifies that Christ has enlightened the neophyte. In him the
baptized are "the light of the world."
The newly baptized is now, in the only Son, a child of God entitled to say
the prayer of the children of God: "Our Father."
1244 First Holy Communion. Having become a child of God clothed with the
wedding garment, the neophyte is admitted "to the marriage supper of the
Lamb" and receives the food of the new life, the body and blood of
Christ. The Eastern Churches maintain a lively awareness of the unity of
Christian initiation by giving Holy Communion to all the newly baptized
and confirmed, even little children, recalling the Lord's words: "Let the
children come to me, do not hinder them." The Latin Church, which
reserves admission to Holy Communion to those who have attained the age of
reason, expresses the orientation of Baptism to the Eucharist by having
the newly baptized child brought to the altar for the praying of the Our
1245 The solemn blesSing concludes the celebration of Baptism. At the
Baptism of newborns the blesSing of the mother occupies a special place.
IV. Who Can Receive Baptism?
1246 "Every person not yet baptized and only such a person is able to be
The Baptism of adults
1247 Since the beginning of the Church, adult Baptism is the common
practice where the proclamation of the Gospel is still new. The
catechumenate (preparation for Baptism) therefore occupies an important
place. This initiation into Christian faith and life should dispose the
catechumen to receive the gift of God in Baptism, Confirmation, and the
1248 The catechumenate, or formation of catechumens, aims at bringing
their conversion and faith to maturity, in response to the divine
initiative and in union with an ecclesial community. The catechumenate is
to be "a formation in the whole Christian life . . . during which the
disciples will be joined to Christ their teacher. The catechumens should
be properly initiated into the mystery of salvation and the practice of
the evangelical virtues, and they should be introduced into the life of
faith, liturgy, and charity of the People of God by successive sacred
1249 Catechumens "are already joined to the Church, they are already of
the household of Christ, and are quite frequently already living a life of
faith, hope, and charity." "With love and solicitude mother Church
already embraces them as her own."
The Baptism of infants
1250 Born with a fallen human nature and tainted by original Sin, children
also have need of the new birth in Baptism to be freed from the power of
darkness and brought into the realm of the freedom of the children of God,
to which all men are called. The sheer gratuitousness of the Grace of
salvation is particularly manifest in infant Baptism. The Church and the
parents would deny a child the priceless Grace of becoming a child of God
were they not to confer Baptism shortly after birth.
1251 Christian parents will recognize that this practice also accords with
their role as nurturers of the life that God has entrusted to them.
1252 The practice of infant Baptism is an immemorial tradition of the
Church. There is explicit testimony to this practice from the second
century on, and it is quite possible that, from the beginning of the
apostolic preaching, when whole "households" received baptism, infants may
also have been baptized.
Faith and Baptism
1253 Baptism is the sacrament of faith. But faith needs the community
of believers. It is only within the faith of the Church that each of the
faithful can believe. The faith required for Baptism is not a perfect and
mature faith, but a beginning that is called to develop. The catechumen or
the godparent is asked: "What do you ask of God's Church?" The response
1254 For all the baptized, children or adults, faith must grow after
Baptism. For this reason the Church celebrates each year at the Easter
Vigil the renewal of baptismal promises. Preparation for Baptism leads
only to the threshold of new life. Baptism is the source of that new life
in Christ from which the entire Christian life springs forth.
1255 For The Grace of Baptism to unfold, the parents' help is important.
So too is the role of the godfather and godmother, who must be firm
believers, able and ready to help the newly baptized - child or adult on
the road of Christian life. Their task is a truly ecclesial function
(officium). The whole ecclesial community bears some responsibility
for the development and safeguarding of the Grace given at Baptism.
V. Who Can Baptize?
1256 The ordinary ministers of Baptism are the bishop and priest and, in
the Latin Church, also the deacon. In case of necessity, any person,
even someone not baptized, can baptize, if he has the required intention.
The intention required is to will to do what the Church does when she
baptizes, and to apply the Trinitarian baptismal formula. The Church finds
the reason for this possibility in the universal saving will of God and
The Necessity of Baptism for salvation.
VI. The Necessity of Baptism
1257 The Lord himself affirms that Baptism is necessary for salvation.
He also commands his disciples to proclaim the Gospel to all nations and
to baptize them. Baptism is necessary for salvation for those to whom
the Gospel has been proclaimed and who have had the possibility of asking
for this sacrament. The Church does not know of any means other than
Baptism that assures entry into eternal beatitude; this is why she takes
care not to neglect the mission she has received from the Lord to see that
all who can be baptized are "reborn of water and the Spirit." God has
bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound
by his sacraments.
1258 The Church has always held the firm conviction that those who suffer
death for the sake of the faith without having received Baptism are
baptized by their death for and with Christ. This Baptism of blood, like
the desire for Baptism, brings about the fruits of Baptism without being a
1259 For catechumens who die before their Baptism, their explicit desire
to receive it, together with repentance for their Sins, and charity,
assures them the salvation that they were not able to receive through the
1260 "Since Christ died for all, and Since all men are in fact called to
one and the same destiny, which is divine, we must hold that the Holy
Spirit offers to all the possibility of being made partakers, in a way
known to God, of the Paschal mystery." Every man who is ignorant of
the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the
will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It
may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if
they had known its necessity.
1261 As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can
only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites
for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should
be saved, and Jesus' tenderness toward children which caused him to say:
"Let the children come to me, do not hinder them," allow us to hope
that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without
Baptism. All the more urgent is the Church's call not to prevent little
children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism.
VII. The Grace of Baptism
1262 The different effects of Baptism are signified by the perceptible
elements of the sacramental rite. Immersion in water symbolizes not only
death and purification, but also regeneration and renewal. Thus the two
principal effects are purification from Sins and new birth in the Holy
For the forgiveness of Sins . . .
1263 By Baptism all Sins are forgiven, original Sin and all personal Sins,
as well as all punishment for Sin. In those who have been reborn
nothing remains that would impede their entry into the Kingdom of God,
neither Adam's Sin, nor personal Sin, nor the consequences of Sin, the
gravest of which is separation from God.
1264 Yet certain temporal consequences of Sin remain in the baptized, such
as suffering, illness, death, and such frailties inherent in life as
weaknesses of character, and so on, as well as an inclination to Sin that
Tradition calls concupiscence, or metaphorically, "the tinder for Sin"
(fomes peccati); Since concupiscence "is left for us to wrestle with, it
cannot harm those who do not consent but manfully resist it by the Grace
of Jesus Christ." Indeed, "an athlete is not crowned unless he
competes according to the rules."
"A new creature"
1265 Baptism not only purifies from all Sins, but also makes the neophyte
"a new creature," an adopted son of God, who has become a "partaker of the
divine nature," member of Christ and co-heir with him, and a
temple of the Holy Spirit.
1266 The Most Holy Trinity gives the baptized sanctifying Grace, the Grace
- enabling them to believe in God, to hope in him, and to love him through
The Theological Virtues;
- giving them the power to live and act under the prompting of the Holy
Spirit through the gifts of the Holy Spirit;
- allowing them to grow in goodness through the moral virtues.
Thus the whole organism of the Christian's supernatural life has its roots
Incorporated into the Church, the Body of Christ
1267 Baptism makes us members of the Body of Christ: "Therefore . . . we
are members one of another." Baptism incorporates us into the Church.
From the baptismal fonts is born the one People of God of the New
Covenant, which transcends all the natural or human limits of nations,
cultures, races, and sexes: "For by one Spirit we were all baptized into
1268 The baptized have become "living stones" to be "built into a
spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood." By Baptism they share in
the priesthood of Christ, in his prophetic and royal mission. They are "a
chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people, that
[they] may declare the wonderful deeds of him who called [them] out of
darkness into his marvelous light." Baptism gives a share in the
common priesthood of all believers.
1269 Having become a member of the Church, the person baptized belongs no
longer to himself, but to him who died and rose for us. From now on,
he is called to be subject to others, to serve them in the communion of
the Church, and to "obey and submit" to the Church's leaders, holding
them in respect and affection. Just as Baptism is the source of
responsibilities and duties, the baptized person also enjoys rights within
the Church: to receive the sacraments, to be nourished with the Word of
God and to be sustained by the other spiritual helps of the Church.
1270 "Reborn as sons of God, [the baptized] must profess before men the
faith they have received from God through the Church" and participate in
the apostolic and missionary activity of the People of God.
The sacramental bond of the unity of Christians
1271 Baptism constitutes the foundation of communion among all Christians,
including those who are not yet in full communion with the Catholic
Church: "For men who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are
put in some, though imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church.
Justified by faith in Baptism, [they] are incorporated into Christ; they
therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are
accepted as brothers by the children of the Catholic Church." "Baptism
therefore constitutes the sacramental bond of unity existing among all who
through it are reborn."
An indelible spiritual mark . . .
1272 Incorporated into Christ by Baptism, the person baptized is
configured to Christ. Baptism seals the Christian with the indelible
spiritual mark (character) of his belonging to Christ. No Sin can erase
this mark, even if Sin prevents Baptism from bearing the fruits of
salvation. Given once for all, Baptism cannot be repeated.
1273 Incorporated into the Church by Baptism, the faithful have received
the sacramental character that consecrates them for Christian religious
worship. The baptismal seal enables and commits Christians to serve
God by a vital participation in the holy liturgy of the Church and to
exercise their baptismal priesthood by the witness of holy lives and
1274 The Holy Spirit has marked us with the seal of the Lord ("Dominicus
character") "for the day of redemption." "Baptism indeed is the seal
of eternal life." The faithful Christian who has "kept the seal" until
the end, remaining faithful to the demands of his Baptism, will be able to
depart this life "marked with the sign of faith," with his baptismal
faith, in expectation of the blessed vision of God - the consummation of
faith - and in the hope of resurrection.
1275 Christian initiation is accomplished by three sacraments together:
Baptism which is the beginning of new life; Confirmation which is its
strengthening; and the Eucharist which nourishes the disciple with
Christ's Body and Blood for his transformation in Christ.
1276 "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in
the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching
them to observe all that I have commanded you" (Mt 28:19-20).
1277 Baptism is birth into the new life in Christ. In accordance with the
Lord's will, it is necessary for salvation, as is the Church herself,
which we enter by Baptism.
1278 The essential rite of Baptism consists in immerSing the candidate in
water or pouring water on his head, while pronouncing the invocation of
the Most Holy Trinity: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
1279 The fruit of Baptism, or baptismal Grace, is a rich reality that
includes forgiveness of original Sin and all personal Sins, birth into the
new life by which man becomes an adoptive son of the Father, a member of
Christ and a temple of the Holy Spirit. By this very fact the person
baptized is incorporated into the Church, the Body of Christ, and made a
sharer in the priesthood of Christ.
1280 Baptism imprints on the soul an indelible spiritual sign, the
character, which consecrates the baptized person for Christian worship.
Because of the character Baptism cannot be repeated (cf. DS 1609 and DS
1281 Those who die for the faith, those who are catechumens, and all those
who, without knowing of the Church but acting under the inspiration of
Grace, seek God Sincerely and strive to fulfill his will, are saved even
if they have not been baptized (cf. LG 16).
1282 Since the earliest times, Baptism has been administered to children,
for it is a Grace and a gift of God that does not presuppose any human
Merit; children are baptized in the faith of the Church. Entry into
Christian life gives access to true freedom.
1283 With respect to children who have died without Baptism, the liturgy
of the Church invites us to trust in God's mercy and to pray for their
1284 In case of necessity, any person can baptize provided that he have
the intention of doing that which the Church does and provided that he
pours water on the candidate's head while saying: "I baptize you in the
name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit."
Article Two: The Sacrament of Confirmation
1285 Baptism, the Eucharist, and the sacrament of Confirmation together
constitute the "sacraments of Christian initiation," whose unity must be
safeguarded. It must be explained to the faithful that the reception of
the sacrament of Confirmation is necessary for the completion of baptismal
Grace. For "by the sacrament of Confirmation, [the baptized] are more
perfectly bound to the Church and are enriched with a special strength of
the Holy Spirit. Hence they are, as true witnesses of Christ, more
strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith by word and deed."
I. Confirmation in the Econony of Salvation
1286 In the Old Testament the prophets announced that the Spirit of the
Lord would rest on the hoped-for Messiah for his saving mission. The
descent of the Holy Spirit on Jesus at his baptism by John was the sign
that this was he who was to come, the Messiah, the Son of God. He was
conceived of the Holy Spirit; his whole life and his whole mission are
carried out in total communion with the Holy Spirit whom the Father gives
him "without measure."
1287 This fullness of the Spirit was not to remain uniquely the Messiah's,
but was to be communicated to the whole messianic people. On several
occasions Christ promised this outpouring of the Spirit, a promise
which he fulfilled first on Easter Sunday and then more strikingly at
Pentecost. Filled with the Holy Spirit the apostles began to proclaim
"the mighty works of God," and Peter declared this outpouring of the
Spirit to be the sign of the messianic age. Those who believed in the
apostolic preaching and were baptized received the gift of the Holy Spirit
in their turn.
1288 "From that time on the apostles, in fulfillment of Christ's will,
imparted to the newly baptized by the laying on of hands the gift of the
Spirit that completes The Grace of Baptism. For this reason in the Letter
to the Hebrews the doctrine concerning Baptism and the laying on of hands
is listed among the first elements of Christian instruction. The
imposition of hands is rightly recognized by the Catholic tradition as the
origin of the sacrament of Confirmation, which in a certain way
perpetuates the Grace of Pentecost in the Church."
1289 Very early, the better to signify the gift of the Holy Spirit, an
anointing with perfumed oil (chrism) was added to the laying on of hands.
This anointing highlights the name "Christian," which means "anointed" and
derives from that of Christ himself whom God "anointed with the Holy
Spirit." This rite of anointing has continued ever Since, in both East
and West. For this reason the Eastern Churches call this sacrament
Chrismation, anointing with chrism, or myron which means "chrism." In the
West, Confirmation suggests both the ratification of Baptism, thus
completing Christian initiation, and the strengthening of baptismal Grace
- both fruits of the Holy Spirit.
Two traditions: East and West
1290 In the first centuries Confirmation generally comprised one Single
celebration with Baptism, forming with it a "double sacrament," according
to the expression of St. Cyprian. Among other reasons, the multiplication
of infant baptisms all through the year, the increase of rural parishes,
and the growth of dioceses often prevented the bishop from being present
at all baptismal celebrations. In the West the desire to reserve the
completion of Baptism to the bishop caused the temporal separation of the
two sacraments. The East has kept them united, so that Confirmation is
conferred by the priest who baptizes. But he can do so only with the
"myron" consecrated by a bishop.
1291 A custom of the Roman Church facilitated the development of the
Western practice: a double anointing with sacred chrism after Baptism. The
first anointing of the neophyte on coming out of the baptismal bath was
performed by the priest; it was completed by a second anointing on the
forehead of the newly baptized by the bishop. The first anointing
with sacred chrism, by the priest, has remained attached to the baptismal
rite; it signifies the participation of the one baptized in the prophetic,
priestly, and kingly offices of Christ. If Baptism is conferred on an
adult, there is only one post-baptismal anointing, that of Confirmation.
1292 The practice of the Eastern Churches gives greater emphasis to the
unity of Christian initiation. That of the Latin Church more clearly
expresses the communion of the new Christian with the bishop as guarantor
and servant of the unity, catholicity and apostolicity of his Church, and
hence the connection with the apostolic origins of Christ's Church.
II. The Signs and the Rite of Confirmation
1293 In treating the rite of Confirmation, it is fitting to consider the
sign of anointing and what it signifies and imprints: a spiritual seal.
Anointing, in Biblical and other ancient symbolism, is rich in meaning:
oil is a sign of abundance and joy; it cleanses (anointing before and
after a bath) and limbers (the anointing of athletes and wrestlers); oil
is a sign of healing, Since it is soothing to bruises and wounds; and
it makes radiant with beauty, health, and strength.
1294 Anointing with oil has all these meanings in the sacramental life.
The pre- baptismal anointing with the oil of catechumens signifies
cleanSing and strengthening; the anointing of the sick expresses healing
and comfort. The post- baptismal anointing with sacred chrism in
Confirmation and ordination is the sign of consecration. By Confirmation
Christians, that is, those who are anointed, share more completely in the
mission of Jesus Christ and the fullness of the Holy Spirit with which he
is filled, so that their lives may give off "the aroma of Christ."
1295 By this anointing the confirmand receives the "mark," the seal of the
Holy Spirit. A seal is a symbol of a person, a sign of personal Authority,
or ownership of an oblect. Hence soldiers were marked with their
leader's seal and slaves with their master's. A seal authenticates a
juridical act or document and occasionally makes it secret.
1296 Christ himself declared that he was marked with his Father's
seal. Christians are also marked with a seal: "It is God who
establishes us with you in Christ and has commissioned us; he has put his
seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee."
This seal of the Holy Spirit marks our total belonging to Christ, our
enrollment in his service for ever, as well as the promise of divine
protection in the great eschatological trial.
The celebration of Confirmation
1297 The consecration of the sacred chrism is an important action that
precedes the celebration of Confirmation, but is in a certain way a part
of it. It is the bishop who, in the course of the Chrism Mass of Holy
Thursday, consecrates the sacred chrism for his whole diocese. In some
Eastern Churches this consecration is even reserved to the patriarch:
The Syriac liturgy of Antioch expresses the epiclesis for the consecration
of the sacred chrism (myron) in this way: "[Father . . . send your Holy
Spirit] on us and on this oil which is before us and consecrate it, so
that it may be for all who are anointed and marked with it holy myron,
priestly myron, royal myron, anointing with gladness, clothing with light,
a cloak of salvation, a spiritual gift, the sanctification of souls and
bodies, imperishable happiness, the indelible seal, a buckler of faith,
and a fearsome helmet against all the works of the adversary."
1298 When Confirmation is celebrated separately from Baptism, as is the
case in the Roman Rite, the Liturgy of Confirmation begins with the
renewal of baptismal promises and the profession of faith by the
confirmands. This clearly shows that Confirmation follows Baptism.
When adults are baptized, they immediately receive Confirmation and
participate in the Eucharist.
1299 In the Roman Rite the bishop extends his hands over the whole group
of the confirmands. Since the time of the apostles this gesture has
signified the gift of the Spirit. The bishop invokes the outpouring of the
Spirit in these words:
All-powerful God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, by water and the Holy
Spirit you freed your sons and daughters from Sin and gave them new life.
Send your Holy Spirit upon them to be their helper and guide. Give them
the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of right judgment and
courage, the spirit of knowledge and reverence. Fill them with the spirit
of wonder and awe in your presence. We ask this through Christ our
1300 The essential rite of the sacrament follows. In the Latin rite, "the
sacrament of Confirmation is conferred through the anointing with chrism
on the forehead, which is done by the laying on of the hand, and through
the words: 'Accipe signaculum doni Spiritus Sancti' [Be sealed with the
Gift of the Holy Spirit.]." In the Eastern Churches, after a prayer
of epiclesis the more significant parts of the body are anointed with
myron: forehead, eyes, nose, ears, lips, breast, back, hands, and feet.
Each anointing is accompanied by the formula: "The seal of the gift that
is the Holy Spirit."
1301 The sign of peace that concludes the rite of the sacrament signifies
and demonstrates ecclesial communion with the bishop and with all the
III. The Effects of Confirmation
1302 It is evident from its celebration that the effect of the sacrament
of Confirmation is the full outpouring of the Holy Spirit as once granted
to the apostles on the day of Pentecost.
1303 From this fact, Confirmation brings an increase and deepening of
- it roots us more deeply in the divine filiation which makes us cry,
- it unites us more firmly to Christ;
- it increases the gifts of the Holy Spirit in us;
- it renders our bond with the Church more perfect;
- it gives us a special strength of the Holy Spirit to spread and defend
the faith by word and action as true witnesses of Christ, to confess the
name of Christ boldly, and never to be ashamed of the Cross:
Recall then that you have received the spiritual seal, the spirit of
wisdom and understanding, the spirit of right judgment and courage, the
spirit of knowledge and reverence, the spirit of holy fear in God's
presence. Guard what you have received. God the Father has marked you with
his sign; Christ the Lord has confirmed you and has placed his pledge, the
Spirit, in your hearts.
1304 Like Baptism which it completes, Confirmation is given only once, for
it too imprints on the soul an indelible spiritual mark, the "character,"
which is the sign that Jesus Christ has marked a Christian with the seal
of his Spirit by clothing him with power from on high so that he may be
1305 This "character" perfects the common priesthood of the faithful,
received in Baptism, and "the confirmed person receives the power to
profess faith in Christ publicly and as it were officially (quasi ex
IV. Who Can Receive this Sacrament?
1306 Every baptized person not yet confirmed can and should receive the
sacrament of Confirmation. Since Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist
form a unity, it follows that "the faithful are obliged to receive this
sacrament at the appropriate time," for without Confirmation and
Eucharist, Baptism is certainly valid and efficacious, but Christian
initiation remains incomplete.
1307 The Latin tradition gives "the age of discretion" as the reference
point for receiving Confirmation. But in danger of death children should
be confirmed even if they have not yet attained the age of
1308 Although Confirmation is sometimes called the "sacrament of Christian
maturity," we must not confuse adult faith with the adult age of natural
growth, nor forget that the baptismal Grace is a Grace of free, unMerited
election and does not need "ratification" to become effective. St. Thomas
reminds us of this:
Age of body does not determine age of soul. Even in childhood man can
attain spiritual maturity: as the book of Wisdom says: "For old age is not
honored for length of time, or measured by number of years. "Many
children, through the strength of the Holy Spirit they have received, have
bravely fought for Christ even to the shedding of their blood.
1309 Preparation for Confirmation should aim at leading the Christian
toward a more intimate union with Christ and a more lively familiarity
with the Holy Spirit - his actions, his gifts, and his biddings - in order
to be more capable of assuming the apostolic responsibilities of Christian
life. To this end catechesis for Confirmation should strive to awaken a
sense of belonging to the Church of Jesus Christ, the universal Church as
well as the parish community. The latter bears special responsibility for
the preparation of confirmands.
1310 To receive Confirmation one must be in a state of Grace. One should
receive the sacrament of Penance in order to be cleansed for the gift of
the Holy Spirit. More intense prayer should prepare one to receive the
strength and Graces of the Holy Spirit with docility and readiness to
1311 Candidates for Confirmation, as for Baptism, fittingly seek the
spiritual help of a sponsor. To emphasize the unity of the two sacraments,
it is appropriate that this be one of the baptismal godparents.
V. The Minister of Confirmation
1312 The original minister of Confirmation is the bishop. In the
East, ordinarily the priest who baptizes also immediately confers
Confirmation in one and the same celebration. But he does so with sacred
chrism consecrated by the patriarch or the bishop, thus expresSing the
apostolic unity of the Church whose bonds are strengthened by the
sacrament of Confirmation. In the Latin Church, the same discipline
applies to the Baptism of adults or to the reception into full communion
with the Church of a person baptized in another Christian community that
does not have valid Confirmation.
1313 In the Latin Rite, the ordinary minister of Confirmation is the
bishop. Although the bishop may for grave reasons concede to priests
the faculty of administering Confirmation, it is appropriate from the
very meaning of the sacrament that he should confer it himself, mindful
that the celebration of Confirmation has been temporally separated from
Baptism for this reason. Bishops are the successors of the apostles. They
have received the fullness of the sacrament of Holy Orders. The
administration of this sacrament by them demonstrates clearly that its
effect is to unite those who receive it more closely to the Church, to her
apostolic origins, and to her mission of bearing witness to Christ.
1314 If a Christian is in danger of death, any priest should give him
Confirmation. Indeed the Church desires that none of her children,
even the youngest, should depart this world without having been perfected
by the Holy Spirit with the gift of Christ's fullness.
1315 "Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received
the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, who came down and
prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit; for it had not
yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of
the Lord Jesus. Then they laid their hands on them and they received the
Holy Spirit" (Acts 8:14-17).
1316 Confirmation perfects Baptismal Grace; it is the sacrament which
gives the Holy Spirit in order to root us more deeply in the divine
filiation, incorporate us more firmly into Christ, strengthen our bond
with the Church, associate us more closely with her mission, and help us
bear witness to the Christian faith in words accompanied by deeds.
1317 Confirmation, like Baptism, imprints a spiritual mark or indelible
character on the Christian's soul; for this reason one can receive this
sacrament only once in one's life.
1318 In the East this sacrament is administered immediately after Baptism
and is followed by participation in the Eucharist; this tradition
highlights the unity of the three sacraments of Christian initiation. In
the Latin Church this sacrament is administered when the age of reason has
been reached, and its celebration is ordinarily reserved to the bishop,
thus signifying that this sacrament strengthens the ecclesial bond.
1319 A candidate for Confirmation who has attained the age of reason must
profess the faith, be in the state of Grace, have the intention of
receiving the sacrament, and be prepared to assume the role of disciple
and witness to Christ, both within the ecclesial community and in temporal
1320 The essential rite of Confirmation is anointing the forehead of the
baptized with sacred chrism (in the East other sense-organs as well),
together with the laying on of the minister's hand and the words: "Accipe
signaculum doni Spiritus Sancti" (Be sealed with the Gift of the Holy
Spirit.) in the Roman Rite, or "The seal of the gift that is the Holy
Spirit" in the Byzantine rite.
1321 When Confirmation is celebrated separately from Baptism, its
connection with Baptism is expressed, among other ways, by the renewal of
baptismal promises. The celebration of Confirmation during the Eucharist
helps underline the unity of The Sacraments of Christian Initiation.
Article 3: THE SACRAMENT OF THE EUCHARIST
1322 The holy Eucharist completes Christian initiation. Those who have
been raised to the dignity of the royal priesthood by Baptism and
configured more deeply to Christ by Confirmation participate with the
whole community in the Lord's own sacrifice by means of the Eucharist.
1323 "At the Last Supper, on the night he was betrayed, our Savior
instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of his Body and Blood. This he did in
order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the ages until
he should come again, and so to entrust to his beloved Spouse, the Church,
a memorial of his death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of
unity, a bond of charity, a Paschal banquet 'in which Christ is consumed,
the mind is filled with Grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to
The Eucharist - Source and Summit of Ecclesial Life
1324 The Eucharist is "the source and summit of the Christian life."
"The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works
of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward
it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of
the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch."
1325 "The Eucharist is the efficacious sign and sublime cause of that
communion in the divine life and that unity of the People of God by which
the Church is kept in being. It is the culmination both of God's action
sanctifying the world in Christ and of the worship men offer to Christ and
through him to the Father in the Holy Spirit."
1326 Finally, by the Eucharistic celebration we already unite ourselves
with the heavenly liturgy and anticipate eternal life, when God will be
all in all.
1327 In brief, the Eucharist is the sum and summary of our faith: "Our way
of thinking is attuned to the Eucharist, and the Eucharist in turn
confirms our way of thinking."
II. What is this Sacrament Called?
1328 The inexhaustible richness of this sacrament is expressed in the
different names we give it. Each name evokes certain aspects of it. It is
Eucharist, because it is an action of thanksgiving to God. The Greek words
eucharistein and eulogein recall the Jewish blesSings that
proclaim - especially during a meal - God's works: creation, redemption,
1329 The Lord's Supper, because of its connection with the supper which
the Lord took with his disciples on the eve of his Passion and because it
anticipates the wedding feast of the Lamb in the heavenly Jerusalem.
The Breaking of Bread, because Jesus used this rite, part of a Jewish meat
when as master of the table he blessed and distributed the bread,l
above all at the Last Supper. It is by this action that his disciples
will recognize him after his Resurrection, and it is this expression
that the first Christians will use to designate their Eucharistic
assemblies; by doing so they signified that all who eat the one
broken bread, Christ, enter into communion with him and form but one body
The Eucharistic assembly (synaxis), because the Eucharist is celebrated
amid the assembly of the faithful, the visible expression of the
1330 The memorial of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection.
The Holy Sacrifice, because it makes present the one sacrifice of Christ
the Savior and includes the Church's offering. The terms holy sacrifice of
the Mass, "sacrifice of praise," spiritual sacrifice, pure and holy
sacrifice are also used, Since it completes and surpasses all the
sacrifices of the Old Covenant.
The Holy and Divine Liturgy, because the Church's whole liturgy finds its
center and most intense expression in The Celebration of this Sacrament;
in the same sense we also call its celebration the Sacred Mysteries. We
speak of the Most Blessed Sacrament because it is the Sacrament of
sacraments. The Eucharistic species reserved in the tabernacle are
designated by this same name.
1331 Holy Communion, because by this sacrament we unite ourselves to
Christ, who makes us sharers in his Body and Blood to form a Single
body. We also call it: the holy things (ta hagia; sancta) - the
first meaning of the phrase "communion of saints" in the Apostles' Creed -
the bread of angels, bread from heaven, medicine of immortality,
1332 Holy Mass (Missa), because the liturgy in which the mystery of
salvation is accomplished concludes with the sending forth (missio) of the
faithful, so that they may fulfill God's will in their daily lives.
III. The Eucharist in the Economy of Salvation
The signs of bread and wine
1333 At the heart of the Eucharistic celebration are the bread and wine
that, by the words of Christ and the invocation of the Holy Spirit, become
Christ's Body and Blood. Faithful to the Lord's command the Church
continues to do, in his memory and until his glorious return, what he did
on the eve of his Passion: "He took bread...." "He took the cup filled
with wine...." The signs of bread and wine become, in a way surpasSing
understanding, the Body and Blood of Christ; they continue also to signify
the goodness of creation. Thus in the Offertory we give thanks to the
Creator for bread and wine, fruit of the "work of human hands," but
above all as "fruit of the earth" and "of the vine" - gifts of the
Creator. The Church sees in the gesture of the king-priest Melchizedek,
who "brought out bread and wine," a prefiguring of her own offering.
1334 In the Old Covenant bread and wine were offered in sacrifice among
the first fruits of the earth as a sign of grateful acknowledgment to the
Creator. But they also received a new significance in the context of the
Exodus: the unleavened bread that Israel eats every year at Passover
commemorates the haste of the departure that liberated them from Egypt;
the remembrance of the manna in the desert will always recall to Israel
that it lives by the bread of the Word of God; their daily bread is
the fruit of the promised land, the pledge of God's faithfulness to his
The "cup of blesSing" at the end of the Jewish Passover meal adds to
the festive joy of wine an eschatological dimension: the messianic
expectation of the rebuilding of Jerusalem. When Jesus instituted the
Eucharist, he gave a new and definitive meaning to the blesSing of the
bread and the cup.
1335 The miracles of the multiplication of the loaves, when the Lord says
the blesSing, breaks and distributes the loaves through his disciples to
feed the multitude, prefigure the superabundance of this unique bread of
his Eucharist. The sign of water turned into wine at Cana already
announces the Hour of Jesus' glorification. It makes manifest the
fulfillment of the wedding feast in the Father's kingdom, where the
faithful will drink the new wine that has become the Blood of Christ.
1336 The first announcement of the Eucharist divided the disciples, just
as the announcement of the Passion scandalized them: "This is a hard
saying; who can listen to it?" The Eucharist and the Cross are
stumbling blocks. It is the same mystery and it never ceases to be an
occasion of division. "Will you also go away?": the Lord's question
echoes through the ages, as a loving invitation to discover that only he
has "the words of eternal life" and that to receive in faith the gift
of his Eucharist is to receive the Lord himself.
The institution of the Eucharist
1337 The Lord, having loved those who were his own, loved them to the end.
Knowing that the hour had come to leave this world and return to the
Father, in the course of a meal he washed their feet and gave them the
commandment of love. In order to leave them a pledge of this love, in
order never to depart from his own and to make them sharers in his
Passover, he instituted the Eucharist as the memorial of his death and
Resurrection, and commanded his apostles to celebrate it until his return;
"thereby he constituted them priests of the New Testament."
1338 The three synoptic Gospels and St. Paul have handed on to us the
account of the institution of the Eucharist; St. John, for his part,
reports the words of Jesus in the synagogue of Capernaum that prepare for
the institution of the Eucharist: Christ calls himself the bread of life,
come down from heaven.
1339 Jesus chose the time of Passover to fulfill what he had announced at
Capernaum: giving his disciples his Body and his Blood:
Then came the day of Unleavened Bread, on which the passover lamb had to
be sacrificed. So Jesus sent Peter and John, saying, "Go and prepare the
passover meal for us, that we may eat it...." They went ... and prepared
the passover. And when the hour came, he sat at table, and the apostles
with him. And he said to them, "I have earnestly desired to eat this
passover with you before I suffer; for I tell you I shall not eat it again
until it is fulfilled in the kingdom of God.".... And he took bread, and
when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, "This is
my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me." And
likewise the cup after supper, saying, "This cup which is poured out for
you is the New Covenant in my blood."
1340 By celebrating the Last Supper with his apostles in the course of the
Passover meal, Jesus gave the Jewish Passover its definitive meaning.
Jesus' pasSing over to his father by his death and Resurrection, the new
Passover, is anticipated in the Supper and celebrated in the Eucharist,
which fulfills the Jewish Passover and anticipates the final Passover of
the Church in the glory of the kingdom.
"Do this in memory of me"
1341 The command of Jesus to repeat his actions and words "until he comes"
does not only ask us to remember Jesus and what he did. It is directed at
the liturgical celebration, by the apostles and their successors, of the
memorial of Christ, of his life, of his death, of his Resurrection, and of
his intercession in the presence of the Father.
1342 From the beginning the Church has been faithful to the Lord's
command. Of the Church of Jerusalem it is written:
They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and fellowship, to the
breaking of bread and the prayers.... Day by day, attending the temple
together and breaking bread in their homes, they partook of food with glad
and generous hearts.
1343 It was above all on "the first day of the week," Sunday, the day of
Jesus' resurrection, that the Christians met "to break bread." From
that time on down to our own day the celebration of the Eucharist has been
continued so that today we encounter it everywhere in the Church with the
same fundamental structure. It remains the center of the Church's life.
1344 Thus from celebration to celebration, as they proclaim the Paschal
mystery of Jesus "until he comes," the pilgrim People of God advances,
"following the narrow way of the cross," toward the heavenly banquet,
when all the elect will be seated at the table of the kingdom.
IV. The Liturgical Celebration of the Eucharist
The Mass of all ages
1345 As early as the second century we have the witness of St. Justin
Martyr for the basic lines of the order of the Eucharistic celebration.
They have stayed the same until our own day for all the great liturgical
families. St. Justin wrote to the pagan emperor Antoninus Pius (138-161)
around the year 155, explaining what Christians did:
On the day we call the day of the sun, all who dwell in the city or
country gather in the same place.
The memoirs of the apostles and the writings of the prophets are read, as
much as time permits.
When the reader has finished, he who presides over those gathered
admonishes and challenges them to imitate these beautiful things.
Then we all rise together and offer prayers* for ourselves . . .and for
all others, wherever they may be, so that we may be found righteous by our
life and actions, and faithful to the commandments, so as to obtain
When the prayers are concluded we exchange the kiss.
Then someone brings bread and a cup of water and wine mixed together to
him who presides over the brethren.
He takes them and offers praise and glory to the Father of the universe,
through the name of the Son and of the Holy
Spirit and for a considerable time he gives thanks (in Greek:
eucharistian) that we have been judged worthy of these gifts.
When he has concluded the prayers and thanksgivings, all present give
voice to an acclamation by saying: 'Amen.'
When he who presides has given thanks and the people have responded, those
whom we call deacons give to those present the "eucharisted" bread, wine
and water and take them to those who are absent.
1346 The liturgy of the Eucharist unfolds according to a fundamental
structure which has been preserved throughout the centuries down to our
own day. It displays two great parts that form a fundamental unity:
- the gathering, the liturgy of the Word, with readings, homily and
- the liturgy of the Eucharist, with the presentation of the bread and
wine, the consecratory thanksgiving, and communion.
The liturgy of the Word and liturgy of the Eucharist together form "one
Single act of worship"; the Eucharistic table set for us is the table
both of the Word of God and of the Body of the Lord.
1347 Is this not the same movement as the Paschal meal of the risen Jesus
with his disciples? Walking with them he explained the Scriptures to them;
sitting with them at table "he took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave
it to them."
The movement of the celebration
1348 All gather together. Christians come together in one place for the
Eucharistic assembly. At its head is Christ himself, the principal agent
of the Eucharist. He is high priest of the New Covenant; it is he himself
who presides invisibly over every Eucharistic celebration. It is in
representing him that the bishop or priest acting in the person of Christ
the head (in persona Christi capitis) presides over the assembly, speaks
after the readings, receives the offerings, and says the Eucharistic
Prayer. All have their own active parts to play in the celebration, each
in his own way: readers, those who bring up the offerings, those who give
communion, and the whole people whose "Amen" manifests their
1349 The Liturgy of the Word includes "the writings of the prophets," that
is, the Old Testament, and "the memoirs of the apostles" (their letters
and the Gospels). After the homily, which is an exhortation to accept
this Word as what it truly is, the Word of God, and to put it into
practice, come the intercessions for all men, according to the Apostle's
words: "I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and
thanksgivings be made for all men, for kings, and all who are in high
1350 The presentation of the offerings (the Offertory). Then, sometimes in
procession, the bread and wine are brought to the altar; they will be
offered by the priest in the name of Christ in the Eucharistic sacrifice
in which they will become his body and blood. It is the very action of
Christ at the Last Supper - "taking the bread and a cup." "The Church
alone offers this pure oblation to the Creator, when she offers what comes
forth from his creation with thanksgiving." The presentation of the
offerings at the altar takes up the gesture of Melchizedek and commits the
Creator's gifts into the hands of Christ who, in his sacrifice, brings to
perfection all human attempts to offer sacrifices.
1351 From the very beginning Christians have brought, along with the bread
and wine for the Eucharist, gifts to share with those in need. This custom
of the collection, ever appropriate, is inspired by the example of Christ
who became poor to make us rich:
Those who are well off, and who are also willing, give as each chooses.
What is gathered is given to him who presides to assist orphans and
widows, those whom illness or any other cause has deprived of resources,
prisoners, immigrants and, in a word, all who are in need.
1352 The anaphora: with the Eucharistic Prayer - the prayer of
thanksgiving and consecration - we come to the heart and summit of the
In the preface, the Church gives thanks to the Father, through Christ, in
the Holy Spirit, for all his works: creation, redemption, and
sanctification. The whole community thus joins in the unending praise that
the Church in heaven, the angels and all the saints, Sing to the
1353 In the epiclesis, the Church asks the Father to send his Holy Spirit
(or the power of his blesSing) on the bread and wine, so that by his
power they may become the body and blood of Jesus Christ and so that those
who take part in the Eucharist may be one body and one spirit (some
liturgical traditions put the epiclesis after the anamnesis).
In the institution narrative, the power of the words and the action of
Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit, make sacramentally present under
the species of bread and wine Christ's body and blood, his sacrifice
offered on the cross once for all.
1354 In the anamnesis that follows, the Church calls to mind the Passion,
resurrection, and glorious return of Christ Jesus; she presents to the
Father the offering of his Son which reconciles us with him.
In the intercessions, the Church indicates that the Eucharist is
celebrated in communion with the whole Church in heaven and on earth, the
living and the dead, and in communion with the pastors of the Church, the
Pope, the diocesan bishop, his presbyterium and his deacons, and all the
bishops of the whole world together with their Churches.
1355 In the communion, preceded by the Lord's prayer and the breaking of
the bread, the faithful receive "the bread of heaven" and "the cup of
salvation," the body and blood of Christ who offered himself "for the life
of the world":
Because this bread and wine have been made Eucharist ("eucharisted,"
according to an ancient expression), "we call this food Eucharist, and no
one may take part in it unless he believes that what we teach is true, has
received baptism for the forgiveness of Sins and new birth, and lives in
keeping with what Christ taught."
V. The Sacramental Sacrifice Thanksgiving, Memorial, Presence
1356 If from the beginning Christians have celebrated the Eucharist and in
a form whose substance has not changed despite the great diversity of
times and liturgies, it is because we know ourselves to be bound by the
command the Lord gave on the eve of his Passion: "Do this in remembrance
1357 We carry out this command of the Lord by celebrating the memorial of
his sacrifice. In so doing, we offer to the Father what he has himself
given us: the gifts of his creation, bread and wine which, by the power of
the Holy Spirit and by the words of Christ, have become the body and blood
of Christ. Christ is thus really and mysteriously made present.
1358 We must therefore consider the Eucharist as: - thanksgiving and
praise to the Father;
- the sacrificial memorial of Christ and his Body;
- the presence of Christ by the power of his word and of his Spirit.
Thanksgiving and praise to the Father
1359 The Eucharist, the sacrament of our salvation accomplished by Christ
on the cross, is also a sacrifice of praise in thanksgiving for the work
of creation. In the Eucharistic sacrifice the whole of creation loved by
God is presented to the Father through the death and the Resurrection of
Christ. Through Christ the Church can offer the sacrifice of praise in
thanksgiving for all that God has made good, beautiful, and just in
creation and in humanity.
1360 The Eucharist is a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Father, a
blesSing by which the Church expresses her gratitude to God for all his
benefits, for all that he has accomplished through creation, redemption,
and sanctification. Eucharist means first of all "thanksgiving."
1361 The Eucharist is also the sacrifice of praise by which the Church
Sings the glory of God in the name of all creation. This sacrifice of
praise is possible only through Christ: he unites the faithful to his
person, to his praise, and to his intercession, so that the sacrifice of
praise to the Father is offered through Christ and with him, to be
accepted in him.
The sacrificial memorial of Christ and of his Body, the Church
1362 The Eucharist is the memorial of Christ's Passover, the making
present and the sacramental offering of his unique sacrifice, in the
liturgy of the Church which is his Body. In all the Eucharistic Prayers we
find after the words of institution a prayer called the anamnesis or
1363 In the sense of Sacred Scripture the memorial is not merely the
recollection of past events but the proclamation of the mighty works
wrought by God for men. In the liturgical celebration of these
events, they become in a certain way present and real. This is how Israel
understands its liberation from Egypt: every time Passover is celebrated,
the Exodus events are made present to the memory of believers so that they
may conform their lives to them.
1364 In the New Testament, the memorial takes on new meaning. When the
Church celebrates the Eucharist, she commemorates Christ's Passover, and
it is made present the sacrifice Christ offered once for all on the cross
remains ever present. "As often as the sacrifice of the Cross by
which 'Christ our Pasch has been sacrificed' is celebrated on the altar,
the work of our redemption is carried out."
1365 Because it is the memorial of Christ's Passover, the Eucharist is
also a sacrifice. The sacrificial character of the Eucharist is manifested
in the very words of institution: "This is my body which is given for you"
and "This cup which is poured out for you is the New Covenant in my
blood." In the Eucharist Christ gives us the very body which he gave
up for us on the cross, the very blood which he "poured out for many for
the forgiveness of Sins."
1366 The Eucharist is thus a sacrifice because it re-presents (makes
present) the sacrifice of the cross, because it is its memorial and
because it applies its fruit:
[Christ], our Lord and God, was once and for all to offer himself to God
the Father by his death on the altar of the cross, to accomplish there an
everlasting redemption. But because his priesthood was not to end with his
death, at the Last Supper "on the night when he was betrayed," [he wanted]
to leave to his beloved spouse the Church a visible sacrifice (as the
nature of man demands) by which the bloody sacrifice which he was to
accomplish once for all on the cross would be re-presented, its memory
perpetuated until the end of the world, and its salutary power be applied
to the forgiveness of the Sins we daily commit.
1367 The sacrifice of Christ and the sacrifice of the Eucharist are one
Single sacrifice: "The victim is one and the same: the same now offers
through the ministry of priests, who then offered himself on the cross;
only the manner of offering is different." "In this divine sacrifice which
is celebrated in the Mass, the same Christ who offered himself once in a
bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and is offered in an
1368 The Eucharist is also the sacrifice of the Church. The Church which
is the Body of Christ participates in the offering of her Head. With him,
she herself is offered whole and entire. She unites herself to his
intercession with the Father for all men. In the Eucharist the sacrifice
of Christ becomes also the sacrifice of the members of his Body. The lives
of the faithful, their praise, sufferings, prayer, and work, are united
with those of Christ and with his total offering, and so acquire a new
value. Christ's sacrifice present on the altar makes it possible for all
generations of Christians to be united with his offering.
In the catacombs the Church is often represented as a woman in prayer,
arms outstretched in the praying position. Like Christ who stretched out
his arms on the cross, through him, with him, and in him, she offers
herself and intercedes for all men.
1369 The whole Church is united with the offering and intercession of
Christ. Since he has the ministry of Peter in the Church, the Pope is
associated with every celebration of the Eucharist, wherein he is named as
the sign and servant of the unity of the universal Church. The bishop of
the place is always responsible for the Eucharist, even when a priest
presides; the bishop's name is mentioned to signify his presidency over
the particular Church, in the midst of his presbyterium and with the
assistance of deacons. The community intercedes also for all ministers
who, for it and with it, offer the Eucharistic sacrifice:
Let only that Eucharist be regarded as legitimate, which is celebrated
under [the presidency of] the bishop or him to whom he has entrusted
Through the ministry of priests the spiritual sacrifice of the faithful is
completed in union with the sacrifice of Christ the only Mediator, which
in the Eucharist is offered through the priests' hands in the name of the
whole Church in an unbloody and sacramental manner until the Lord himself
1370 To the offering of Christ are united not only the members still here
on earth, but also those already in the glory of heaven. In communion with
and commemorating the Blessed Virgin Mary and all the saints, the Church
offers the Eucharistic sacrifice. In the Eucharist the Church is as it
were at the foot of the cross with Mary, united with the offering and
intercession of Christ.
1371 The Eucharistic sacrifice is also offered for the faithful departed
who "have died in Christ but are not yet wholly purified," so that
they may be able to enter into the light and peace of Christ:
Put this body anywhere! Don't trouble yourselves about it! I simply ask
you to remember me at the Lord's altar wherever you are.
Then, we pray [in the anaphora] for the holy fathers and bishops who have
fallen asleep, and in general for all who have fallen asleep before us, in
the belief that it is a great benefit to the souls on whose behalf the
supplication is offered, while the holy and tremendous Victim is
present.... By offering to God our supplications for those who have fallen
asleep, if they have Sinned, we . . . offer Christ sacrificed for the Sins
of all, and so render favorable, for them and for us, the God who loves
1372 St. Augustine admirably summed up this doctrine that moves us to an
ever more complete participation in our Redeemer's sacrifice which we
celebrate in the Eucharist:
This wholly redeemed city, the assembly and society of the saints, is
offered to God as a universal sacrifice by the high priest who in the form
of a slave went so far as to offer himself for us in his Passion, to make
us the Body of so great a head.... Such is the sacrifice of Christians:
"we who are many are one Body in Christ" The Church continues to reproduce
this sacrifice in the sacrament of the altar so well-known to believers
wherein it is evident to them that in what she offers she herself is
The presence of Christ by the power of his word and the Holy Spirit
1373 "Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised from the dead, who is at
the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us," is present in many
ways to his Church: in his word, in his Church's prayer, "where two
or three are gathered in my name," in the poor, the sick, and the
imprisoned, in the sacraments of which he is the author, in the
sacrifice of the Mass, and in the person of the minister. But "he is
present . . . most especially in the Eucharistic species."
1374 The mode of Christ's presence under the Eucharistic species is
unique. It raises the Eucharist above all the sacraments as "the
perfection of the spiritual life and the end to which all the sacraments
tend." In the most blessed sacrament of the Eucharist "the body and
blood, together with the soul and divinity, of our Lord Jesus Christ and,
therefore, the whole Christ is truly, really, and substantially
contained." "This presence is called 'real' - by which is not
intended to exclude the other types of presence as if they could not be
'real' too, but because it is presence in the fullest sense: that is to
say, it is a substantial presence by which Christ, God and man, makes
himself wholly and entirely present."
1375 It is by the conversion of the bread and wine into Christ's body and
blood that Christ becomes present in this sacrament. The Church Fathers
strongly affirmed the faith of the Church in the efficacy of the Word of
Christ and of the action of the Holy Spirit to bring about this
conversion. Thus St. John Chrysostom declares:
It is not man that causes the things offered to become the Body and Blood
of Christ, but he who was crucified for us, Christ himself. The priest, in
the role of Christ, pronounces these words, but their power and Grace are
God's. This is my body, he says. This word transforms the things
And St. Ambrose says about this conversion:
Be convinced that this is not what nature has formed, but what the
blesSing has consecrated. The power of the blesSing prevails over that of
nature, because by the blesSing nature itself is changed.... Could not
Christ's word, which can make from nothing what did not exist, change
existing things into what they were not before? It is no less a feat to
give things their original nature than to change their nature.
1376 The Council of Trent summarizes the Catholic faith by declaring:
"Because Christ our Redeemer said that it was truly his body that he was
offering under the species of bread, it has always been the conviction of
the Church of God, and this holy Council now declares again, that by the
consecration of the bread and wine there takes place a change of the whole
substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord
and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood.
This change the holy Catholic Church has fittingly and properly called
1377 The Eucharistic presence of Christ begins at the moment of the
consecration and endures as long as the Eucharistic species subsist.
Christ is present whole and entire in each of the species and whole and
entire in each of their parts, in such a way that the breaking of the
bread does not divide Christ.
1378 Worship of the Eucharist. In the liturgy of the Mass we express our
faith in the real presence of Christ under the species of bread and wine
by, among other ways, genuflecting or bowing deeply as a sign of adoration
of the Lord. "The Catholic Church has always offered and still offers to
the sacrament of the Eucharist the cult of adoration, not only during
Mass, but also outside of it, reserving the consecrated hosts with the
utmost care, expoSing them to the solemn veneration of the faithful, and
carrying them in procession."
1379 The tabernacle was first intended for the reservation of the
Eucharist in a worthy place so that it could be brought to the sick and
those absent outside of Mass. As faith in the real presence of Christ in
his Eucharist deepened, the Church became conscious of the meaning of
silent adoration of the Lord present under the Eucharistic species. It is
for this reason that the tabernacle should be located in an especially
worthy place in the church and should be constructed in such a way that it
emphasizes and manifests the truth of the real presence of Christ in the
1380 It is highly fitting that Christ should have wanted to remain present
to his Church in this unique way. Since Christ was about to take his
departure from his own in his visible form, he wanted to give us his
sacramental presence; Since he was about to offer himself on the cross to
save us, he wanted us to have the memorial of the love with which he loved
us "to the end," even to the giving of his life. In his Eucharistic
presence he remains mysteriously in our midst as the one who loved us and
gave himself up for us, and he remains under signs that express and
communicate this love:
The Church and the world have a great need for Eucharistic worship. Jesus
awaits us in this sacrament of love. Let us not refuse the time to go to
meet him in adoration, in contemplation full of faith, and open to making
amends for the serious offenses and crimes of the world. Let our adoration
1381 "That in this sacrament are the true Body of Christ and his true
Blood is something that 'cannot be apprehended by the senses,' says St.
Thomas, 'but only by faith, which relies on divine Authority.' For this
reason, in a commentary on Luke 22:19 ('This is my body which is given for
you.'), St. Cyril says: 'Do not doubt whether this is true, but rather
receive the words of the Savior in faith, for Since he is the truth, he
Godhead here in hiding, whom I do adore Masked by these bare shadows,
shape and nothing more, See, Lord, at thy service low lies here a heart
Lost, all lost in wonder at the God thou art.
Seeing, touching, tasting are in thee deceived;
How says trusty hearing? that shall be believed;
What God's Son has told me, take for truth I do;
Truth himself speaks truly or there's nothing true.
VI. The Paschal Banquet
1382 The Mass is at the same time, and inseparably, the sacrificial
memorial in which the sacrifice of the cross is perpetuated and the sacred
banquet of communion with the Lord's body and blood. But the celebration
of the Eucharistic sacrifice is wholly directed toward the intimate union
of the faithful with Christ through communion. To receive communion is to
receive Christ himself who has offered himself for us.
1383 The altar, around which the Church is gathered in the celebration of
the Eucharist, represents the two aspects of the same mystery: the altar
of the sacrifice and the table of the Lord. This is all the more so Since
the Christian altar is the symbol of Christ himself, present in the midst
of the assembly of his faithful, both as the victim offered for our
reconciliation and as food from heaven who is giving himself to us. "For
what is the altar of Christ if not the image of the Body of Christ?"
asks St. Ambrose. He says elsewhere, "The altar represents the body [of
Christ] and the Body of Christ is on the altar." The liturgy
expresses this unity of sacrifice and communion in many prayers. Thus the
Roman Church prays in its anaphora:
We entreat you, almighty God, that by the hands of your holy Angel this
offering may be borne to your altar in heaven in the sight of your divine
majesty, so that as we receive in communion at this altar the most holy
Body and Blood of your Son, we may be filled with every heavenly blesSing
"Take this and eat it, all of you": communion
1384 The Lord addresses an invitation to us, urging us to receive him in
the sacrament of the Eucharist: "Truly, I say to you, unless you eat the
flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in
1385 To respond to this invitation we must prepare ourselves for so great
and so holy a moment. St. Paul urges us to examine our conscience:
"Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an
unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the
Lord. Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the
cup. For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and
drinks judgment upon himself." Anyone conscious of a grave Sin must
receive the sacrament of Reconciliation before coming to communion.
1386 Before so great a sacrament, the faithful can only echo humbly and
with ardent faith the words of the Centurion: "Domine, non sum dignus ut
intres sub tectum meum, sed tantum dic verbo, et sanabitur anima mea"
("Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say
the word and my soul will be healed."). And in the Divine Liturgy of
St. John Chrysostom the faithful pray in the same spirit:
O Son of God, bring me into communion today with your mystical supper. I
shall not tell your enemies the secret, nor kiss you with Judas' kiss. But
like the good thief I cry, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your
1387 To prepare for worthy reception of this sacrament, the faithful
should observe the fast required in their Church. Bodily demeanor
(gestures, clothing) ought to convey the respect, solemnity, and joy of
this moment when Christ becomes our guest.
1388 It is in keeping with the very meaning of the Eucharist that the
faithful, if they have the required dispositions, receive communion each
time they participate in the Mass. As the Second Vatican Council
says: "That more perfect form of participation in the Mass whereby the
faithful, after the priest's communion, receive the Lord's Body from the
same sacrifice, is warmly recommended."
1389 The Church obliges the faithful "to take part in the Divine Liturgy
on Sundays and feast days" and, prepared by the sacrament of
Reconciliation, to receive the Eucharist at least once a year, if possible
during the Easter season. But the Church strongly encourages the
faithful to receive the holy Eucharist on Sundays and feast days, or more
often still, even daily.
1390 Since Christ is sacramentally present under each of the species,
communion under the species of bread alone makes it possible to receive
all the fruit of Eucharistic Grace. For pastoral reasons this manner of
receiving communion has been legitimately established as the most common
form in the Latin rite. But "the sign of communion is more complete when
given under both kinds, Since in that form the sign of the Eucharistic
meal appears more clearly." This is the usual form of receiving
communion in the Eastern rites.
The fruits of Holy Communion
1391 Holy Communion augments our union with Christ. The principal fruit of
receiving the Eucharist in Holy Communion is an intimate union with Christ
Jesus. Indeed, the Lord said: "He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood
abides in me, and I in him." Life in Christ has its foundation in the
Eucharistic banquet: "As the living Father sent me, and I live because of
the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me."
On the feasts of the Lord, when the faithful receive the Body of the Son,
they proclaim to one another the Good News that the first fruits of life
have been given, as when the angel said to Mary Magdalene, "Christ is
risen!" Now too are life and resurrection conferred on whoever receives
1392 What material food produces in our bodily life, Holy Communion
wonderfully achieves in our spiritual life. Communion with the flesh of
the risen Christ, a flesh "given life and giving life through the Holy
Spirit," preserves, increases, and renews the life of Grace received
at Baptism. This growth in Christian life needs the nourishment of
Eucharistic Communion, the bread for our pilgrimage until the moment of
death, when it will be given to us as viaticum.
1393 Holy Communion separates us from Sin. The body of Christ we receive
in Holy Communion is "given up for us," and the blood we drink "shed for
the many for the forgiveness of Sins." For this reason the Eucharist
cannot unite us to Christ without at the same time cleanSing us from past
Sins and preserving us from future Sins:
For as often as we eat this bread and drink the cup, we proclaim the death
of the Lord. If we proclaim the Lord's death, we proclaim the forgiveness
of Sins. If, as often as his blood is poured out, it is poured for the
forgiveness of Sins, I should always receive it, so that it may always
forgive my Sins. Because I always Sin, I should always have a remedy.
1394 As bodily nourishment restores lost strength, so the Eucharist
strengthens our charity, which tends to be weakened in daily life; and
this living charity wipes away venial Sins. By giving himself to us
Christ revives our love and enables us to break our disordered attachments
to creatures and root ourselves in him:
Since Christ died for us out of love, when we celebrate the memorial of
his death at the moment of sacrifice we ask that love may be granted to us
by the coming of the Holy Spirit. We humbly pray that in the strength of
this love by which Christ willed to die for us, we, by receiving the gift
of the Holy Spirit, may be able to consider the world as crucified for us,
and to be ourselves as crucified to the world.... Having received the gift
of love, let us die to Sin and live for God.
1395 By the same charity that it enkindles in us, the Eucharist preserves
us from future mortal Sins. The more we share the life of Christ and
progress in his friendship, the more difficult it is to break away from
him by mortal Sin. The Eucharist is not ordered to the forgiveness of
mortal Sins - that is proper to the sacrament of Reconciliation. The
Eucharist is properly the sacrament of those who are in full communion
with the Church.
1396 The unity of the Mystical Body: the Eucharist makes the Church. Those
who receive the Eucharist are united more closely to Christ. Through it
Christ unites them to all the faithful in one body - the Church. Communion
renews, strengthens, and deepens this incorporation into the Church,
already achieved by Baptism. In Baptism we have been called to form but
one body. The Eucharist fulfills this call: "The cup of blesSing
which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The
bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?
Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all
partake of the one bread:"
If you are the body and members of Christ, then it is your sacrament that
is placed on the table of the Lord; it is your sacrament that you receive.
To that which you are you respond "Amen" ("yes, it is true!") and by
responding to it you assent to it. For you hear the words, "the Body of
Christ" and respond "Amen." Be then a member of the Body of Christ that
your Amen may be true.
1397 The Eucharist commits us to the poor. To receive in truth the Body
and Blood of Christ given up for us, we must recognize Christ in the
poorest, his brethren:
You have tasted the Blood of the Lord, yet you do not recognize your
brother,.... You dishonor this table when you do not judge worthy of
sharing your food someone judged worthy to take part in this meal.... God
freed you from all your Sins and invited you here, but you have not become
1398 The Eucharist and the unity of Christians. Before the greatness of
this mystery St. Augustine exclaims, "O sacrament of devotion! O sign of
unity! O bond of charity!" The more painful the experience of the
divisions in the Church which break the common participation in the table
of the Lord, the more urgent are our prayers to the Lord that the time of
complete unity among all who believe in him may return.
1399 The Eastern churches that are not in full communion with the Catholic
Church celebrate the Eucharist with great love. "These Churches, although
separated from us, yet possess true sacraments, above all - by apostolic
succession - the priesthood and the Eucharist, whereby they are still
joined to us in closest intimacy." A certain communion in sacris, and so
in the Eucharist, "given suitable circumstances and the approval of Church
Authority, is not merely possible but is encouraged."
1400 Ecclesial communities derived from the Reformation and separated from
the Catholic Church, "have not preserved the proper reality of the
Eucharistic mystery in its fullness, especially because of the absence of
the sacrament of Holy Orders." It is for this reason that Eucharistic
intercommunion with these communities is not possible for the Catholic
Church. However these ecclesial communities, "when they commemorate the
Lord's death and resurrection in the Holy Supper . . . profess that it
signifies life in communion with Christ and await his coming in
1401 When, in the Ordinary's judgment, a grave necessity arises, Catholic
ministers may give the sacraments of Eucharist, Penance, and Anointing of
the Sick to other Christians not in full communion with the Catholic
Church, who ask for them of their own will, provided they give evidence of
holding the Catholic faith regarding these sacraments and possess the
VII. The Eucharist - "Pledge of the Glory to Come"
1402 In an ancient prayer the Church acclaims the mystery of the
Eucharist: "O sacred banquet in which Christ is received as food, the
memory of his Passion is renewed, the soul is filled with Grace and a
pledge of the life to come is given to us." If the Eucharist is the
memorial of the Passover of the Lord Jesus, if by our communion at the
altar we are filled "with every heavenly blesSing and Grace," then
the Eucharist is also an anticipation of the heavenly glory.
1403 At the Last Supper the Lord himself directed his disciples' attention
toward the fulfillment of the Passover in the kingdom of God: "I tell you
I shall not drink again of this fruit of the vine until that day when I
drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom." Whenever the Church
celebrates the Eucharist she remembers this promise and turns her gaze "to
him who is to come." In her prayer she calls for his coming: "Marana tha!"
"Come, Lord Jesus!"
"May your Grace come and this world pass away!"
1404 The Church knows that the Lord comes even now in his Eucharist and
that he is there in our midst. However, his presence is veiled. Therefore
we celebrate the Eucharist "awaiting the blessed hope and the coming of
our Savior, Jesus Christ," asking "to share in your glory when every
tear will be wiped away. On that day we shall see you, our God, as you
are. We shall become like you and praise you for ever through Christ our
1405 There is no surer pledge or dearer sign of this great hope in the new
heavens and new earth "in which righteousness dwells," than the
Eucharist. Every time this mystery is celebrated, "the work of our
redemption is carried on" and we "break the one bread that provides the
medicine of immortality, the antidote for death, and the food that makes
us live for ever in Jesus Christ."
1406 Jesus said: "I am the living bread that came down from heaven; if any
one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; . . . he who eats my flesh
and drinks my blood has eternal life and . . . abides in me, and I in him"
(Jn 6:51, 54, 56).
1407 The Eucharist is the heart and the summit of the Church's life, for
in it Christ associates his Church and all her members with his sacrifice
of praise and thanksgiving offered once for all on the cross to his
Father; by this sacrifice he pours out the Graces of salvation on his Body
which is the Church.
1408 The Eucharistic celebration always includes: the proclamation of the
Word of God; thanksgiving to God the Father for all his benefits, above
all the gift of his Son; the consecration of bread and wine; and
participation in the liturgical banquet by receiving the Lord's body and
blood. These elements constitute one Single act of worship.
1409 The Eucharist is the memorial of Christ's Passover, that is, of the
work of salvation accomplished by the life, death, and resurrection of
Christ, a work made present by the liturgical action.
1410 It is Christ himself, the eternal high priest of the New Covenant
who, acting through the ministry of the priests, offers the Eucharistic
sacrifice. And it is the same Christ, really present under the species of
bread and wine, who is the offering of the Eucharistic sacrifice.
1411 Only validly ordained priests can preside at the Eucharist and
consecrate the bread and the wine so that they become the Body and Blood
of the Lord.
1412 The essential signs of the Eucharistic sacrament are wheat bread and
grape wine, on which the blesSing of the Holy Spirit is invoked and the
priest pronounces the words of consecration spoken by Jesus during the
Last Supper: "This is my body which will be given up for you.... This is
the cup of my blood...."
1413 By the consecration the transubstantiation of the bread and wine into
the Body and Blood of Christ is brought about. Under the consecrated
species of bread and wine Christ himself, living and glorious, is present
in a true, real, and substantial manner: his Body and his Blood, with his
soul and his divinity (cf. Council of Trent: DS 1640; 1651).
1414 As sacrifice, the Eucharist is also offered in reparation for the
Sins of the living and the dead and to obtain spiritual or temporal
benefits from God.
1415 Anyone who desires to receive Christ in Eucharistic communion must be
in the state of Grace. Anyone aware of having Sinned mortally must not
receive communion without having received absolution in the sacrament of
1416 Communion with the Body and Blood of Christ increases the
communicant's union with the Lord, forgives his venial Sins, and preserves
him from grave Sins. Since receiving this sacrament strengthens the bonds
of charity between the communicant and Christ, it also reinforces the
unity of the Church as the Mystical Body of Christ.
1417 The Church warmly recommends that the faithful receive Holy Communion
each time they participate in the celebration of the Eucharist; she
obliges them to do so at least once a year.
1418 Because Christ himself is present in the sacrament of the altar, he
is to be honored with the worship of adoration. "To visit the Blessed
Sacrament is . . . a proof of gratitude, an expression of love, and a duty
of adoration toward Christ our Lord" (Paul VI, MF 66).
1419 Having passed from this world to the Father, Christ gives us in the
Eucharist the pledge of glory with him. Participation in the Holy
Sacrifice identifies us with his Heart, sustains our strength along the
pilgrimage of this life, makes us long for eternal life, and unites us
even now to the Church in heaven, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and all the
Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III, 65, 1.
St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III, 65, 3.
Paul VI, apostolic constitution, Divinae consortium naturae: AAS 63
(1971) 657; cf. RCIA Introduction 1-2.
Cf. Council Of Florence: DS 1314: vitae spiritualis ianua.
Roman Catechism II, 2, 5; Cf. Council Of Florence: DS 1314; CIC, cann.
204 # 1; 849; CCEO, can. 675 # 1.
2 Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15; Cf. Rom 6:34; Col 2:12.
Titus 3:5; Jn 3:5.
St. Justin, Apol. 1, 61, 12: PG 6, 421.
Jn 1:9; 1 Thess 5:5; Heb 10:32; Eph 5:8.
St. Gregory Of Nazianzus, Oratio 40, 3-4: PG 36, 361C.
Roman Missal, Easter Vigil 42: BlesSing of Water.
Cf. Gen 1:2.
Roman Missal, Easter Vigil 42: BlesSing of Water.
1 Pet 3:20.
Roman Missal, Easter Vigil 42: BlesSing of Water.
Roman Missal, Easter Vigil 42: BlesSing of Water: "Abrahae filios per
mare Rubrum sicco vestigio transire fecisti, ut plebs, a Pharaonis
servitute liberata, populum baptizatorum praefiguraret."
Cf. Mt 3:13.
Mt 28:19-20; cf. Mk 16:15-16.
Cf. Phil 2:7.
Mk 10:38; cf. Lk 12:50.
Cf. Jn 19:34; 1 Jn 5:6-8.
Cf. Jn 3:5.
St. Ambrose, De sacr. 2, 2, 6: PL 16, 444; cf. Jn 3:5.
Cf. Acts 2:41; 8:12-13; 10:48; 16:15.
Rom 6:3-4; cf. Col 2:12.
CE 1 Cor 6:11; 12:13.
1 Pet 1:23; cf. Eph 5:26.
St. Augustine, In Jo. ev. 80, 3: PL 35, 1840.
Cf. RCIA (1972).
SC 65; cf. SC 37-40.
Cf. AG 14; CIC, cann. 851; 865; 866.
Cf. CIC, cann. 851, 20; 868.
Cf. Rom 6:17.
Cf. RBC 62.
Mt 5:14; cf. Phil 2:15.
Mk 10 14.
CIC, can. 864; cf. CCEO, can. 679.
AG 14; cf. RCIA 19; 98.
AG 14 # 5.
LG 14 # 3; cf. CIC, cann. 206; 788 # 3.
Cf. Council of Trent (1546): DS 1514; cf. Col 1:12-14.
Cf. CIC, can. 867; CCEO, cann. 681; 686, 1.
Cf. LG 11; 41; GS 48; CIC, can. 868.
Cf. Acts 16:15, 33; 18:8; 1 Cor 1:16; CDF, instruction, Pastoralis
actio: AAS 72 (1980) 1137-1156.
Cf. Mk 16:16.
Cf. CIC, cann. 872-874.
Cf. SC 67.
Cf. CIC, can. 861 # 1; CCEO, can. 677 # 1.
Cf. 1 Tim 2:4.
Cf. Jn 3:5.
Cf. Mt 28:19-20; cf. Council of Trent (1547) DS 1618; LG 14; AG 5.
Cf. Mk 16:16.
GS 22 # 5; cf. LG 16; AG 7.
Mk 10 14; cf. 1 Tim 2:4.
Cf. Acts 2:38; Jn 3:5.
Cf. Council of Florence (1439): DS 1316.
Council of Trent (1546): DS 1515.
2 Tim 2:5.
2 Cor 5:17; 2 Pet 1:4; cf. Gal 4:5-7.
Cf. l Cor 6:15; 12:27; Rom 8:17.
Cf. l Cor 6:19.
1 Cor 12:13.
1 Pet 2:5.
1 Pet 2:9.
Cf. 1 Cor 6:19; 2 Cor 5:15.
Cf. Eph 5:21; 1 Cor 16:15-16; 1 Thess 5:12-13; Jn 13:12-15.
Cf. LG 37; CIC, cann. 208 223; CCEO, can. 675:2.
LG 11; cf. LG 17; AG 7; 23.
UR 22 # 2.
Cf. Rom 8:29; Council of Trent (1547): DS 1609-1619.
Cf. LG 11.
Cf. LG 10.
St. Augustine, Ep. 98, 5: PL 33, 362; Eph 4:30; cf. 1:13-14; 2 Cor
St. Irenaeus, Dem ap. 3: SCh 62, 32.
Roman Missal, EP I (Roman Canon) 97.
Cf. Roman Ritual, Rite of Confirmation (OC), Introduction 1.
LG 11; Cf. OC, Introduction 2.
Cf. Isa 11:2; 61:1; Lk 4:16-22.
Cf. Mt 3:13-17; Jn 1:33-34.
Cf. Ezek 36:25-27; Joel 3:1-2.
Cf. Lk 12:12; Jn 3:5-8; 7:37-39; 16:7-15; Acts 1:8.
Cf. Jn 20:22; Acts 2:1-14.
Acts 2:11; Cf. 2:17-18.
Cf. Acts 2:38.
Paul VI, Divinae consortium naturae, 659; Cf. Acts 8:15-17; 19:5-6; Heb
Cf. CCEO, Can. 695 # 1; 696 # 1.
Cf. St. Hippolytus, Trad. Ap. 21 SCh 11, 80-95.
Cf. Deut 11:14; Pss 23:5; 104:15.
Cf. Isa 1:6; Lk 1034.
2 Cor 2:15.
Cf Gen 38:18; 41:42; Deut 32:34; CT 8:6.
Cf. 1 Kings 21:8; Jer 32:10; Isa 29:11.
Cf. Jn 6:27.
2 Cor 1:21-22; cf. Eph 1:13; 4, 30.
Cf. Rev 7:2-3; 9:4; Ezek 9:4-6.
Cf. SC 71.
Cf. CIC, can. 866.
Paul VI, apostolic constitution, Divinae consortium naturae, 663.
Cf. St. Hippolytus, Trad. Ap. 21 SCh 11, 80-95.
Cf. LG 11.
Cf. Council Of Florence (1439) DS 1319; LG 11; 12.
SL Ambrose, De myst. 7, 42 PL 16, 402-403.
Cf. Council Of Trent (1547) DS 1609; Lk 24:48-49.
St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III, 72, 5, ad 2.
Cf. CIC, can. 889 # 1.
CIC, can. 890.
Cf. CIC, cann. 891; 883, 3.
St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III, 72, 8, ad 2; Cf. Wis 4:8.
Cf. OC Introduction 3.
Cf. Acts 1:14.
Cf. OC Introduction 5; 6; CIC, Can. 893 ## 1- 2.
Cf. LG 26.
Cf. CIC, Can. 883 # 2.
Cf. CIC, Can. 882.
Cf. CIC, Can. 884 # 2.
Cf. CIC, Can. 883 # 3.
Congregation of Rites, instruction, Eucharisticum mysterium, 6.
Cf. 1 Cor 15:28.
St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 4, 18, 5: PG 7/l, 1028.
Cf. Lk 22:19; 1 Cor 11:24.
Cf. Mt 26:26; Mk 14:22.
Cf. 1 Cor 11:20; Rev 19:9.
Cf. Mt 14:19; 15:36; Mk 8:6, 19.
Cf. Mt 26:26; 1 Cor 11:24.
Cf. Lk 24:13-35.
Cf. Acts 2:42, 46; 20:7, 11.
Cf. 1 Cor 10:16-17.
Cf. 1 Cor 11:17-34.
Heb 13:15; cf. 1 Pet 25; Ps 116:13, 17; Mal 1:11.
Cf. 1 Cor 1016-17.
Apostolic Constitutions 8, 13,12 PG 1,1108; Didache 9, 5; 10:6: SCh:
St. Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Eph. 20, 2 SCh 10, 76.
Cf. Ps 104:13-15.
Gen 14:18; cf. Roman Missal, EP I (Roman Canon) 95.
Cf. Deut 8:3.
155 1 Cor 10:16.
156 Cf. Mt 14:13-21; 15:32-39.
157 Cf. Jn 2:11; Mk 14:25.
158 Jn 6:60.
159 Jn 6:67.
160 In 6:68.
161 Cf. Jn 13:1-17; 34-35.
162 Council of Trent (1562): DS 1740.
163 Cf. Jn 6.
164 Lk 22:7-20; Cf. Mt 26:17-29; Mk 14:12-25; 1 Cor 11:23-26.
165 Cf. 2 Cor 11:26.
166 Acts 2:42, 46.
167 Acts 20:7.
168 AG 1; cf. 1 Cor 11:26.
169 St. Justin, Apol. 1, 65-67: PG 6, 428-429; the text before the
asterisk (*) is from chap. 67.
170 SC 56.
171 Cf. DV 21.
172 Cf. Lk 24:13-35.
173 Cf. 1 Thess 2:13.
174 1 Tim 2:1-2.
175 St. Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 4, 18, 4: PG 7/1, 1027; cf. Mal 1:11.
176 Cf. 1 Cor 16:1; 2 Cor 8:9.
177 St. Justin, Apol. 1, 67: PG 6, 429.
178 Cf. Roman Missal, EP I (Roman Canon) 90.
179 Jn 6:51.
180 St. Justin, Apol. 1, 66,1-2: PG 6, 428.
181 1 Cor 11:24-25.
182 Cf. Ex 13:3.
183 Cf. Heb 7:25-27.
184 LG 3; cf. 1 Cor 5:7.
185 Lk 22:19-20.
186 Mt 26:28.
187 Council of Trent (1562): DS 1740; cf. 1 Cor 11:23; Heb 7:24, 27.
188 Council of Trent (1562): DS 1743; cf. Heb 9:14, 27.
189 St. Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Smyrn. 8:1; SCh 10, 138.
190 PO 2 # 4.
191 Council of Trent (1562) DS 1743.
192 St. Monica, before her death, to her sons, St. Augustine and his
brother; Conf. 9, 11, 27: PL 32, 775.
193 St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catech. myst. 5, 9. 10 PG 33, 1116-1117.
194 St. Augustine, De civ Dei, 10, 6: PL 41, 283; cf. Rom 12:5.
195 Rom 8:34; cf. LG 48.
196 Mt 18:20.
197 Cf. Mt 25:31-46.
198 SC 7.
199 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III, 73, 3c.
200 Council of Trent (1551): DS 1651.
201 Paul VI, MF 39.
202 St. John Chrysostom, prod. Jud. 1:6: PG 49, 380.
203 St. Ambrose, De myst. 9, 50; 52: PL 16, 405-407.
204 Council of Trent (1551): DS 1642; cf. Mt 26:26 ff.; Mk 14:22 ff.; Lk
22:19 ff.; 1 Cor 11:24 ff.
205 Cf. Council of Trent: DS 1641.
206 Paul VI, MF 56.
207 Jn 13:1.
208 Cf. Gal 2:20.
209 John Paul II, Dominicae cenae, 3.
210 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh III, 75, 1; cf. Paul VI, MF 18; St. Cyril of
Alexandria, In Luc. 22, 19: PG 72, 912; cf. Paul VI, MF 18.
211 St. Thomas Aquinas (attr.), Adoro te devote; tr. Gerard Manley
212 St. Ambrose, De Sacr. 5, 2, 7: PL 16, 447C.
213 St. Ambrose, De Sacr. 4, 2, 7: PL 16, 437D.
214 Roman Missal, EP I (Roman Canon) 96: Supplices te rogamus, omnipotens
Deus: iube haec perferri per manus sancti Angeli tui in sublime altare
tuum, in conspectu divinae maiestatis tuae: ut, quotquot ex hac altaris
participatione sacrosanctum Filii Corpus et Sanguinem sumpserimus, omni
benedictione caelesti et gratia repleamur.
215 Jn 6:53.
216 1 Cor 11:27-29.
217 Roman Missal, response to the invitation to communion; cf. Mt 8:8.
218 Cf. CIC, can. 919.
219 Cf. CIC, can. 917; AAS 76 (1984) 746-747.
220 SC 55.
221 OE 15; CIC, can. 920.
222 GIRM 240.
223 Jn 6:56.
224 Jn 6:57.
225 Fanqith, Syriac Office of Antioch, Vol. 1, Commun., 237 a-b.
226 PO 5.
227 St. Ambrose, De Sacr. 4, 6, 28: PL 16, 446; cf. 1 Cor 11:26.
228 Cf. Council of Trent (1551): DS 1638.
229 St. Fulgentius of Ruspe, Contra Fab. 28, 16-19: CCL 19A, 813-814.
230 Cf. 1 Cor 12:13.
231 1 Cor 10:16-17.
232 St. Augustine, Sermo 272: PL 38, 1247.
233 St. John Chrysostom, Hom. in 1 Cor. 27, 4: PG 61, 229-230; cf. Mt
234 St. Augustine, In Jo. ev. 26, 13: PL 35, 1613; cf. SC 47.
235 UR 15 # 2; cf. CIC, can. 844 # 3.
236 UR 22 # 3.
237 UR 22 # 3.
238 Cf. CIC, can. 844 # 4.
239 Roman Missal, EP I (Roman Canon) 96: Supplices te rogamus.
240 Mt 26:29; cf. Lk 22:18; Mk 14 25.
241 Rev 1:4; 22 20; 1 Cor 16 22.
242 Didache 10, 6: SCh 248,180.
243 Roman Missal 126, embolism after the Our Father: expectantes beatam
spem et adventum Salvatoris nostri Jesu Christi; cf. Titus 2:13.
244 EP III 116: prayer for the dead.
245 2 Pet 3:13.
246 LG 3; St. Ignatius of Antioch, Ad Eph. 20, 2: SCh 10, 76.