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What Is the Eucharist?

The Real Presence of Christ on earth


Pope Francis elevates the Host at St. John Lateran on April 7, 2013. (Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

Pope Francis elevates the Host at a Mass at St. John Lateran on April 7, 2013.

(Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)

Definition: The Eucharist is another name for Holy Communion. The term comes from the Greek by way of Latin, and it means "thanksgiving." It is used in three ways: first, to refer to the Real Presence of Christ; second, to refer to Christ's continuing action as High Priest (He "gave thanks" at the Last Supper, which began the consecration of the bread and wine); and third, to refer to the Sacrament of Holy Communion itself.

Many people refer to the Mass as "the Eucharist," but such a use is incorrect. The Mass is made up of two parts: the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. The Mass is more than simply the Sacrament of Holy Communion.

Pronunciation: ˈyo͞okərist

Examples: "In the Sacrament of Holy Communion, the priest consecrates the bread and wine, which becomes the Eucharist."

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