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The Eucharist is a thorough-going sacrament of mercy. In the Acts of the Apostles, Luke sketches some idealised pen portraits of the Christian community in Jerusalem. In a fuller text he writes:. Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common. The early Church, as Luke presents it, was a community of faith, fellowship and prayer.

The Apostle Paul, in the late letters that bear his name, names this reality in more explicit theological terms. He identifies the Church as the body of Christ:. Ephesians He is the head of the body, the church. Colossians Earlier on, in his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul elaborated on the image of the body. It is an image both of unity and of diversity:. For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.

This analogy allows Paul to speak of the different gifts that animate the community.

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There are apostles, prophets, teachers, healers, leaders, miracle-workers In other words the body is not a formless mass but has a shape and a structure. Under Christ as head, there are diverse roles. The unity and diversity of the Church is manifest at the Eucharist. It is the whole assembly that prays as one, but under the leadership of the ordained minister, the priest celebrant. He may be assisted by a deacon.

Serving in a variety of roles are other ministers. These may include acolytes, lectors, cantors or song leaders, musicians, choristers, extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, commentators, welcomers, ushers, collectors and gift-bearers. These are faithful members of the assembly called forth to exercise their baptismal mandate in a liturgical ministry. The Mass does not come to an empty conclusion.

The dismissal pronounced by the priest celebrant is a commission, a directive that all who have taken part in the Eucharist should live out what has been celebrated. All are sent forth as apostles of the reign of God. Just as Jesus brought forth the reign of God in his teaching and healing, and above all in his dying and rising, so the Church manifests the reign of God when it celebrates the Eucharist. The mission of the Church, under the guidance of the Spirit, is to bring what is symbolised in the Eucharist to realisation in the world.

Even as the Eucharist directs the faithful to do all they can to build up the kingdom of God in this world, it opens up a new and ultimate horizon. It offers a vision of a new world, a new creation, beyond the limits of time and place. This is the new and heavenly Jerusalem where all the saints are gathered to feast at the marriage banquet of the Lamb of God Revelation The Eucharist is the pledge of this future glory when God will wipe away every tear from our eyes and death will be no more Rev He concluded:.

True joy is found in recognising that the Lord is still with us, our faithful companion along the way. Of this mystery of love we have become witnesses. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal. Catec hism of the Catholic Church. The Eucharist Many see in this story the familiar shape of the Eucharistic liturgy: gathering together, breaking open the Word of God, breaking bread with the risen Lord, going forth on mission.

The presence of Christ It is in these holy gifts that Christ is most powerfully present for believers. Sunday It was early on the first day of the week that Mary Magdalene and then the other disciples came to the empty tomb John Invocation of the Holy Spirit One of the theological blessings of the twentieth century has been the rediscovery of the Holy Spirit.

The Spirit in scripture In the very beginning the Spirit hovered over the primeval waters Genesis Journeying in the Spirit The prayers reveal that the work of the Spirit is to bring into being the Body of Christ, both as communion and as Church. Sacrament of mercy And when we fall short in our living of the Gospel and lapse into old ways, it is the Eucharist that assures us of mercy and forgiveness. Apostles of the Reign of God The Mass does not come to an empty conclusion. An acclamation is a short response of faith or praise, either sung or proclaimed, made by the participants at Mass.

There are several acclamations in the course of the Mass, such as before the gospel or during the Eucharistic Prayer. An acolyte is a lay person formally entrusted with the ministry of assisting at the altar during Mass. This official role is currently open only to men, but both women and men can fulfil the function of acolyte without being instituted in the role, in which case they are called servers. Its size and design distinguish it from a mere lectern.

Confirmation is a sacrament of initiation. The child or adult being confirmed is anointed with consecrated oil chrism conveying the gift of the Holy Spirit. Together with baptism and eucharist, confirmation orients the candidate towards full participation in the life of the church. Normally it is administered by the bishop and is never repeated. Covenant is a biblical term signifying the bond between God and humanity. A deacon is a person ordained to assist bishops and priests in the ministry of word and sacrament. Deacons may be either permanent or transitional on the way to priesthood ; permanent deacons may be married.

At Mass, deacons proclaim the gospel, pray the general intercessions and assist with the chalice. They may also baptize and officiate at weddings. It can refer to one or more of several interconnected things: the complete celebration of Mass, the Body of Christ received in Holy Communion, or the whole role of the sacrament in the life of the Church. The Eucharistic Prayer is the solemn prayer of thanksgiving and intercession at the heart of the Mass.

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  4. Matthew : At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. It is customary that after each reading, the presiding priest or deacon will say, "The Word of the Lord," to which the congregation responds, "Thanks be to God. Music is important at a Catholic funeral.

    An organ or piano accompanies the selections. Often there is a choir to sing. The choir also joins in the congregational responses to the funeral rites. The Lord is My Shepherd is sung during the liturgy of the Word. When Mass is given for a child who has died and has been baptized , the order of the service is slightly changed. Understanding that the grief is extraordinary, special attention is given to the deceased child's family and friends.

    During the concluding rite the civil documents are signed and the parents or family pray over the couple. This is followed by the blessing. What is the difference between a Catholic marriage with a Nuptial Mass and one without it? With a nuptial Mass you celebrate Mass and receive the Eucharist. If Nuptial Mass is not celebrated, usually Holy Communion is not distributed. If both the bride and groom are Catholic and most of the congregation are likely to be Catholic the nuptial mass would be customary. If one person is not a Catholic, and a large number of the guests are not Catholics, then the couple may choose not to have a Nuptial Mass.

    Baptism: The Demonstration of Devotion

    They should keep an eye open for people who are strangers or who appear ill at ease. Two or three people hand out the wedding booklets. The priest mixes with the guests as they arrive.

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    The priest leads in the bride and groom, escorted by their parents and attendants. The musicians begin playing minutes before the wedding is due to begin. You do not keep people waiting by arriving late.

    If the bride arrives several minutes early this will allow time for photographers. Reserve the front two seats for family but not segregating the rest of the guests into 'his' and 'hers' by filling from the front of the church on both sides, as people arrive. Encourage people to introduce themselves to one another. Arrange for the attendants to sit in the body of the church and to come forward only as required. Arrange the chairs for the bride and groom facing the congregation or at an angle so they can be clearly seen.

    Bride and groom sit with their families until after the Homily. They then come forward for the giving of consent. Who may marry? Can a divorced non-Catholic person remarry in the Catholic Church? The non-Catholic would have to have an annulment or a dissolution of the marriage. The process depends on the situation of the earlier marriage. If both people were baptised non-Catholics there would be a formal annulment process. Whichever the situation, the couple would be advised to speak with either their parish priest or the personnel of the local diocesan marriage tribunal as soon as possible.

    It can be complicated so it best to get advice first hand from your local diocesan marriage tribunal. It is also best to make inquiries sooner rather than later to avoid upsetting marriage plans. Can first cousins marry in the Catholic Church? The law of the Catholic Church determined that marriage between first cousins is invalid. However, it is possible for the diocesan bishop to relax this church law, that is, to grant a dispensation from the law in a particular circumstance. Therefore, it is best for the couple to speak with their parish priest as soon as possible.

    Can I marry a non-Catholic in the Catholic Church? Provided that both persons are free to marry, it is permissible to marry in the Catholic Church. All that is expected is that the Catholic party will undertake to do what is possible to bring children up as Catholics and the non-Catholic is informed of this undertaking. The priest who is going to do the wedding will arrange the necessary paperwork for permissions and help you to plan a suitable ceremony. The priest celebrant will give some direction about marriage preparation programmes. Can a Catholic marry a non-Christian in the Catholic Church?

    Assuming that both persons are free to marry, it is possible for a Catholic to marry a non-Christian a person who is not baptised in the Catholic Church. It will be necessary for the Catholic to speak with the parish priest and obtain a dispensation to marry a non-Christian.

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    This dispensation is readily given. The Catholic person will be asked to make a promise to do all in his or her power in order that any children are baptised and brought up in the Catholic faith. It is most fitting that it is also the place where the Church witnesses the sacrament of marriage. The celebration of marriage in a Catholic Church is a reminder that this is the celebration of a sacrament, that your life as husband and wife is blessed and sustained throughout the marriage by the presence and love of God.

    Will a marriage in the Anglican Church be recognised by the Catholic Church? With permission, marriage in the Anglican Church will be valid and recognised by the Catholic Church. Before celebrating a marriage, the Catholic person should speak to his or her parish priest, who will assist the Catholic in requesting permission for a marriage to be celebrated in the Anglican Church.

    There is a form he has to fill in and send to the Bishop's office. What is required of the Catholic person is a promise to do your best to bring up any children as Catholics.

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    Is it possible to have two celebrations of marriage, one in the Catholic Church and one in the Orthodox Church? It is not possible to have two marriage ceremonies, one in the Orthodox Church and one in the Catholic Church, because the sacrament can be received only once. In a situation where one person is Catholic and the other is Orthodox, the appropriate course of action is to decide in which Church you will have the ceremony.

    If you decide to have it in the Orthodox Church, then the Catholic person should speak with the parish priest and explain the situation. The priest will assist the couple in obtaining permission for the marriage to be celebrated in the Orthodox Church. Sometimes, but not always, the Orthodox priest may allow a Catholic priest to participate in the Orthodox service. Can I have my wedding in the gardens? Is that possible? The Ordo, or official calendar of the Church, says all Masses are prohibited on Easter Saturday before the Easter Vigil and all celebration of the sacraments, other than penance and anointing of the sick, is strictly prohibited, which rules out the sacrament of marriage.

    Ritual Masses of which marriage is one are also prohibited on Easter Sunday. This is because Easter is the pinnacle of the Church year, when Christians focus on celebrating the Resurrection of Christ and renewing their baptismal promises. Ritual Masses are also prohibited on Easter Monday.

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    However there is no explicit rule about the rite of marriage outside of Mass being celebrated on that day. Having said that, it will often be hard to find a church that can accommodate a marriage on Easter Monday, due to the pressure of Easter and since it is a public holiday many will not have staff available. This does not mean that there are not times that can be very difficult.

    Some parishes and dioceses may have supports for married couples and families. Some organisations or movements have as their particular focus the support of married couples. Information about the annulment process is available in several books that are available in catholic bookstores. Alternatively, you could contact your parish priest or else the Tribunal Office in your diocese. There are two different processes for the declaration of nullity of a marriage.