The Holy Eucharist
The Holy Eucharist, the Blessed Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, was instituted on the night before Our Lord died for us and told his followers to “do this in remembrance of me.” The Eucharist is the outward and visible sign of our redemption by the passion, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
At Saint George's and St. Matthew's, we have the great joy of celebrating the Holy Eucharist every Sunday: a traditional Rite One service at 9:00 a.m. The Eucharistic rite is found in The Book of Common Prayer, located in the pew racks. Some of the majestic language in the traditional Rite I dates to 1549. The weekly collect (a unique prayer assigned to a particular day), lessons, and Psalms can be found in the service sheet, located on the table at the back of the nave.
The Episcopal Church and the Diocese of Maryland, to which Saint George's and Saint Matthew's belongs, welcomes all baptized Christians to receive the Blessed Sacrament at its altar, if they desire the Body and Blood of Christ, and if, in the words of the Invitation, they “truly and earnestly repent of their sins and are in love and charity with their neighbors.”
If you intend to make your Holy Communion, you might find these notes on Communion customs helpful:
- Episcopalians customarily place their right palm across the left for the priest to place the host (the wafer of consecrated bread) upon the open palm, and then raise the host to their mouths.
- When the chalice bearer offers the consecrated wine, it is helpful if you assist by gently touching the base of the chalice, guiding the cup to your lips, and taking a small sip.
- Some people prefer to receive Communion by 'intinction,' that is, by dipping the wafer into the wine.
- If you wish to come to the altar rail to receive a blessing from the priest (without receiving Communion), cross your arms over your chest and the priest will bless you. Retain that posture until the person following you has finished receiving both the bread and the wine. You may receive a priest’s blessing whether you are a baptized Christian or not.
- We would ask ladies to remove lipstick before drinking from the chalice.
- After the person following you has received the chalice, rise and return to your seat.
- The Blessed Sacrament is permanently reserved on the church altar for prayer and devotion as well as for the Communion of the sick and homebound.
—Courtesy of St. Thomas Episcopal Church, NYC