The Eucharist is the sacrament (a holy and visible sign of an invisible reality) in which Jesus Christ gives his Body and Blood for us, so that we might give ourselves to him and be united with him in Holy Communion.

It is known variously as the Eucharist, the Lord’s Supper, Holy Communion, the Holy Sacrifice, and the Mass, and each of these names means something different:

  • The word ‘Eucharist’ (from the Greek for ‘thanksgiving’) properly refers to the prayer of thanksgiving which happens before ordinary bread and wine are transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ;
  • The term ‘Lord’s Supper’ reflects the fact that Jesus himself instituted the Eucharist when he had supper with his disciples before he was betrayed by Judas and handed over to Pilate to be killed;
  • It is called ‘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, which is the Church;
  • The ‘Holy Sacrifice’ refers to the fact that when the Words of Institution are said over ordinary bread and wine, they become Christ’s Body and Blood and so make present for the Church now his sacrifice on Calvary;
  • ‘Mass’ is commonly used to refer to the service in which the Eucharist is celebrated. It comes from the words said by the Priest or Deacon at the end of the service (originally in Latin, Ite missa est, ‘Go, you are sent!’) which is a sending out of the people, so that they may fulfil God’s will in their lives.

Holy Communion, that is being drawn into communion with God by receiving Christ’s Body and Blood, has an effect on all who participate. What normal food produces in our bodily life, Holy Communion achieves in our spiritual life. So Communion nourishes and satisfies us spiritually by preserving, increasing and renewing the grace we received at Baptism. Holy Communion also separates us from sin, as we cannot be united with Christ without at the same time being cleansed from past sins, and increases our strength to live as Christians.

All those who are baptised in the name of the Trinity are welcome to receive the Eucharist at St Peter’s and St Paul’s, including children who have been prepared to receive First Communion. Communion can also be brought to anyone in their home who cannot make it to Church through illness. Anyone who wishes to make his or her First Communion or who would like to receive Communion at home is welcome to contact the Vicar.

For weekly mass times, please see the notice sheet, the board outside Church, or click here. If you cannot make it to mass, then why not come during the week, or visit the tabernacle where the Body of Christ is kept for devotion? This bread, consecrated by the Priest and marked by a lit candle, is kept in the tabernacle or aumbry (a safe in the wall) by the High Altar in both Pickering and Lockton churches. The practice of ‘reservation’ is now common in most churches, and serves both to foster devotion and so that the sacrament can be taken to the dying quickly without the need to celebrate the Eucharist.