The Lord Jesus, on the night before he suffered on the cross, shared one last meal with his disciples. During this meal our Savior instituted the sacrament of his Body and Blood. He did this in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the Cross throughout the ages and to entrust to the Church a memorial of his death and resurrection. As the Gospel of Matthew tells us:
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and giving it to his disciples said, "Take and eat; this is my body." Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you, for this is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins." (Mt 26:26-28; cf. Mk 14:22-24, Lk 22:17-20, 1 Cor 11:23-25)
Recalling these words of Jesus, the Catholic Church professes that, in the celebration of the Eucharist, bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit and the instrumentality of the priest. The whole Christ is truly present, body, blood, soul, and divinity, under the appearances of bread and wine—the glorified Christ who rose from the dead after dying for our sins. This is what the Church means when she speaks of the "Real Presence" of Christ in the Eucharist.
In the Church's traditional theological language, in the act of consecration during the Eucharist the "substance" of the bread and wine is changed by the power of the Holy Spirit into the "substance" of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. At the same time, the "accidents" or appearances of bread and wine remain. "Substance" and "accident" are here used as philosophical terms that have been adapted by great medieval theologians such as St. Thomas Aquinas in their efforts to understand and explain the faith. This change at the level of substance from bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ is called "transubstantiation." This is a great mystery of our faith—we can only know it from Christ's teaching given us in the Scriptures and in the Tradition of the Church.
The children of St. Damian Parish receive instruction and the Sacrament of Eucharist in the second grade. Adults who were baptized and never received the Sacrament are encouraged to contact our Coordinator of Religious Education, Mrs. Cheryl Plesha, at 687-7778 to join the RCIA process (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults).
When researching the Catholic teaching on the Eucharist, it is important to seek Catholic sources. For those who like to read, Dr.Scott Hahn's Supper of the Lamb and Dr. Brandt Pitre's The Jewish Roots of the Eucharist are very good resources. For further research on the Catholic teaching of the Eucharist:
The USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) website
Catholics Come Home: The Eucharist and the Mass
The Catholic Catechism on the Eucharist
Catholic Answers Radio on YouTube: The Real Presence
Video by Busted Halo on the Eucharist
Anointing of the Sick
In the Church's Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick, through the ministry of the priest, it is Jesus who touches the sick to heal them from sin – and sometimes even from physical ailment. His cures were signs of the arrival of the Kingdom of God. The core message of his healing tells us of his plan to conquer sin and death by his dying and rising.
The Rite of Anointing tells us there is no need to wait until a person is at the point of death to receive the Sacrament. A careful judgment about the serious nature of the illness is sufficient.
When the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick is given, the hoped-for effect is that, if it be God's will, the person be physically healed of illness. But even if there is no physical healing, the primary effect of the Sacrament is a spiritual healing by which the sick person receives the Holy Spirit's gift of peace and courage to deal with the difficulties that accompany serious illness or the frailty of old age.
To request the Sacrament for yourself or a loved one, please call our Office at 708.687.1370.
Baptisms are celebrated each Sunday at 1:00 PM in the Church. Call the Pastoral Center at 708-687-1370 to arrange your participation in the Baptismal Preparation Program or email [email protected] for more information. If possible, arrange your baptism three months prior to the birth of your child.
Here are some details regarding our Baptism Preparation program; below is an informative video about the sacrament:
Confessions are heard every Saturday from 3:30-4:30 PM. Both face to face and privacy screen options are available. The Reconciliation Rooms are located in the Sacred Heart Room on the west side of the Narthex.
The sacrament is also available anytime by appointment by contacting the Pastoral Office at 687-1370.
Parish Reconciliation Services are offered once during the Lenten and Advent season.
The following website - Good Confession.com - can help prepare you to make the most of the Sacrament.
You can also read about the necessity of Reconciliation, and some helpful ways to prepare for the sacrament.
Arrangements should be made at least six months prior to the date of the wedding.
Email or Call the Pastoral Center at 687-1370 to speak with a priest to begin the exciting process for your Sacrament of Marriage.
NOTE: Please speak with a priest to reserve your preferred date before booking your reception. We have prepared a booklet to help guide you through the necessary steps and preparation. It can be found here in electronic form.
There are six steps to be completed prior to the Wedding Ceremony:
1. An Introductory Meeting between the priest or deacon and the engaged couple.
2. Marriage Preparation Program. We exclusively participate in the marriage preparation seminar called One In Christ . One In Christ helps couples develop a comprehensive understanding of and appreciation for the vocation and Sacrament of Marriage. Our goal is to help couples deeply understand how marriage is a participation in the life of heaven, and what it means for your life together here on earth. Couples will be given the "tools" needed to pursue this blessed vocation.
The seminar cost is $250 which includes all materials, meals, and the Natural Family Planning (NFP) course. Payment is due at the time of registration. To sign up for the One in Christ Marriage Seminar, please go to: www.oneinchristmarriage.com.
The seminar is held at St. Mary of Perpetual Help at 1039 W. 32nd Street in Chicago.
Learn more as reported from a neighboring diocese at ‘One in Christ’ marriage prep program presents ‘authentic teaching of Church on Christian marriage’
3. Online FOCCUS pre-Marriage Inventory found at www.familyministries.org.
4. Preparation and Liturgy.
5. Sacrament of Reconciliation