1. Religion & Spirituality
Send to a Friend via Email
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

What Is the Eucharist?

The Real Presence of Christ on earth

By

Pope Francis Attends Easter Vigil Mass In The Vatican Basilica
Franco Origlia / Stringer/Getty Images News/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."

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.