The liturgical life of the Church revolves around the sacraments, with the Eucharist at the center (National Directory for Catechesis, #35). At Mass, we are fed by the Word and nourished by the Body and Blood of Christ. We believe that the Risen Jesus is truly and substantially present in the Eucharist. The Eucharist is not a sign or symbol of Jesus; rather we receive Jesus himself in and through the Eucharistic species. The priest, through the power of his ordination and the action of the Holy Spirit, transforms the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus. This is call transubstantiation.
By the consecration the transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ is brought about. Under the consecrated species of bread and wine Christ himself, living and glorious, is present in a true, real, and substantial manner: his Body and his Blood, with his soul and his divinity. (CCC 1413)
The New Covenant
I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever;…Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life and…remains in me and I in him. (John 6:51, 54, 56)
In the gospels, we read that the Eucharist was instituted at the Last Supper. This is the fulfillment of the covenants in the Hebrew Scriptures. In the Last Supper narratives, Jesus took, broke and gave bread and wine to his disciples. In the blessing of the cup of wine, Jesus calls it “the blood of the covenant” (Matthew and Mark) and the “new covenant in my blood” (Luke).
This reminds us of the blood ritual with which the covenant was ratified at Sinai (Ex 24) — the sprinkled the blood of sacrificed animals united God and Israel in one relationship, so now the shed blood of Jesus on the cross is the bond of union between new covenant partners — God the Father, Jesus and the Christian Church. Through Jesus’ sacrifice, all the baptized are in relationship with God.
The Catechism teaches that all Catholics who have received their First Holy Communion are welcome to receive Eucharist at Mass unless sin a state of mortal sin.
Anyone who desires to receive Christ in Eucharistic communion must be in the state of grace. Anyone aware of having sinned mortally must not receive communion without having received absolution in the sacrament of penance. (CCC 1415)
The Church warmly recommends that the faithful receive Holy Communion when they participate in the celebration of the Eucharist; she obliges them to do so at least once a year. (CCC 1417)
Receiving the Eucharist changes us. It signifies and effects the unity of the community and serves to strengthen the Body of Christ.
Understanding the Mass
The central act of worship in the Catholic Church is the Mass. It is in the liturgy that the saving death and resurrection of Jesus once for all is made present again in all its fullness and promise – and we are privileged to share in His Body and Blood, fulfilling his command as we proclaim his death and resurrection until He comes again. It is in the liturgy that our communal prayers unite us into the Body of Christ. It is in the liturgy that we most fully live out our Christian faith.
The liturgical celebration is divided into two parts: the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist. First we hear the Word of God proclaimed in the scriptures and respond by singing God’s own Word in the Psalm. Next that Word is broken open in the homily. We respond by professing our faith publicly. Our communal prayers are offered for all the living and the dead in the Creed. Along with the Presider, we offer in our own way, the gifts of bread and wine and are given a share in the Body and Blood of the Lord, broken and poured out for us. We receive the Eucharist, Christ’s real and true presence, and we renew our commitment to Jesus. Finally, we are sent forth to proclaim the Good News!
8:30 AM & 10:30 AM
Monday, Wednesday, & Friday
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Rite of Christian Burial
Funerals and Wakes
If you are visiting this page on our website it may mean that you have recently expereinced a death in the family. Whether expected or not, when a family expereinces the death of a loved one it is a trying time for all. Please accept our sympathy and our condolences.
Please know that we will do our best to work with you as you plan the services for your loved one. We have a wonderful team of ministers who work with the planning process for the church.
It is best that your initial contact be with a local funeral home. They will work directly with you and with the parish to coordinate the liturgy and clergy needs.
We are sometimes asked, what does the Catholic Church say about the funeral? Remember the Mass is for both the Deceased and the Family. The level of faith practice of both should be taken into consideration as decisions for the liturgy are made.
Christians celebrate the funeral rites to offer worship, praise, and thanksgiving to God for the gift of life which has now been returned to God, the author of life and the hope of the just. The Mass, the memorial of Christ’s death and resurrection, is the principal celebration of the Christian funeral.
With that in mind, here is the order of preference when celebrating a Funeral Liturgy in the Church.
- Funeral rites with the body present
- Funeral rites with the body present and cremation afterwards
- Funeral rites with the cremated remains present
Remember, however, there are few hard and fast rules the parish will work with you, your family and the funeral home to make the experience of the funeral a time of prayer, remembrance and celebration.
For more assistance in planning a funeral at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, please contact the Parish Office (352) 489-4889 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Can Catholics be Cremated?
Although previously forbidden in 1963 the Vatican lifted the ban on cremation for Catholics as long as the reasons for choosing it did not counter Christian belief. In March 1997 the Vatican granted permission for the Cremated Remains of a body to be brought into church for the liturgical rites of burial. The Church’s preference remains to have the full complement of funeral rites take place with the body present and then cremation afterward.
Why Doesn’t the Church Allow Cremated Remains to be Scattered or Kept in a Home?
The Church believes cremated remains of a body should be treated with the same respect given the human body from which they come. Scattering ashes deprives loved ones and descendants of the opportunity to visit the remains where they can pray and reflect upon the life and memory of the deceased. Dividing the cremated remains among family and friends or keeping them in the homes diminishes the respect for human life and can show a lack of respect and dignity for the deceased loved one.