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 Jesu


Celebration of the Eucharist, commonly called the Mass, is our most important celebration as Catholics. This is what we celebrate six times every Sunday and twice on weekdays in the early morning. Its importance for us is, because of all the ways God is present in the world, His presence in the consecrated bread and wine is preeminent. It is in the Eucharist that we are nourished in the depth of our souls. "Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day." John 6:54  
We celebrate weddings, funerals, ordinations, baptisms most gloriously within the context of the Eucharist celebration.

Communion to the Sick and Homebound
The Eucharist is our family meal, and we want to keep our sick and homebound within the family, and also nourished by the Bread of Life. The Priests, Deacons and Eucharist Ministers regularly bring Communion to Hospitals, Retirement Homes and private residences. If you know a member of the Parish who desires Communion, please call the office at (818) 888-8200.
When a spouse is sick, we often appoint the other spouse to bring communion. This is very appropriate because within the Sacrament of Marriage, couples bring Christ's presence to each other in so many ways.

First Communion
While adults receive First Communion as soon as they join the Church, it is in second grade that children will receive this Sacrament. Here at St Bernardine's, we dedicate eight Masses over two Sundays in May for these special celebrations. This makes it a communal celebration, as our young members gather around the family table. This culminates two years of preparation both in the school and Religious Education program. Occasionally, older children who may have missed it will join the RCIA program to receive their First Communion.

Special Occasion
In certain instances like wedding anniversaries or anniversaries of a death, it is not unusual to have a special Mass for the family. We have a beautiful Chapel in the Parish Center that seats 40 which is very suitable for small celebrations.

For additional information or if you have an interest in becoming a Eucharistic Minister, contact Bob Nicholas at (818) 346-8244 or email to

See more on the Eucharistic Ministry.

While they were eating, he took bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, and said, "Take it; this is my body."
Then he took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, and they all drank from it.
He said to them, "This is my blood of the covenant, which will be shed for many.
                                        Mark 14:22-24

s. Finally, we are sent forth to proclaim the Good News!




The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. (CCC 1324)

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