The Mass & First Communion
The Mass is the celebration of the gift of Christ’s body and blood to us in the sacrament of Holy Communion. It is, at its heart, a thanksgiving for this gift and for the ways that this bread and wine strengthens us and calls us deeper into discipleship with God.
The celebration of the Mass, also called Holy Eucharist, is at the heart of the worship and ministry at Atonement. Mass is offered every day at one of our altars; it is the centerpiece of our pattern of faith. Through it, we offer ourselves before God, receive the strength and solace of Christ’s Body and Blood, and are sent out into the world to preach the Gospel and serve those in need.
In Holy Communion, we believe that Christ becomes really present in the bread and the wine. While the Episcopal Church allows for some variance of thinking as to what “really present” means (Does the bread remain bread? Does the bread lose the qualities of being bread entirely, or does the bread coexist with Christ’s presence?), we do consistently affirm that Christ’s presence in the world reaches a particular condensation point in this holy food and drink. At Atonement, you will notice that we take this reverence very seriously, reserving any sacrament that remains after Mass in a Tabernacle behind the altar, where it sits under a glowing sanctuary lamp as a reminder of Christ’s presence at all times in this place. We genuflect and bow when we approach the Tabernacle as a sign of our humility before this presence, and we lift this presence on high and use it for blessing each month at Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. But far from being a kind of idol-worship, this reverence is a reminder that Christ has promised to be with us always even to the end of the ages, and that Christ’s call to follow him in serving those in need and proclaiming justice, truth, love, and mercy also remains to the end of the ages.
Children who have been baptized may wish to take part in a celebration of First Holy Communion. While anyone who has been baptized may receive Communion at any time, some parents wish for their children to have some instruction in the sacrament before receiving for the first time. We at Atonement are happy to offer this instruction in faith and with great celebration.