CBCP News, the newsagency of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of the Philippines, reported yesterday that a poll shows that many Asian youth don't understand the Eucharist.
I'm not surprised by this. I find that many older people, not only in the Philippines, but in Ireland and elsewhere, seem to lack an awareness that the bread and wine brought up at the offertory of the Mass becomes the Body and Blood of Christ. I frequently hear Catholics referring to the Precious Blood as 'the wine'. Very few seem to genuflect when the enter a church.
The five recent Sundays when the Gospel reading was taken from John 6 was an opportunity to teach people the basics, an opportunity that I took. I also heard Archbishop Charles J, Chaput OFM Cap of Denver do the same in his homilies during that period and which can be heard online.
A couple of years ago when I did the same one Sunday in the parish where I now go home to in Ireland. Afterwards a man around my own age came to me and thanked me.
Here is the CBCP News report:
MANILA, Sept 2, 2009—In this modern age, still many young Asian Catholics do not fully understand what the Eucharist is all about, according to a survey.
This situation has served as an “eye opener” for the Catholic hierarchy to make theological and pastoral reflections on the Eucharist and the young faithful.
In other words, he added, the celebration of the Mass should speak to the young people.
Tabernacle in Mariukirkjan, the Church of Mary, Torshavn, the only Catholic church in the Faroe Islands. Designed by Ole Jacob Nielsen, a parishioner.
Once, many years ago, a mother told me that she came into a Catholic church with her seven or eight-year-old son. They went to the tabernacle, where the Real Presence of Jesus under the form of consecrated Bread is kept. The boy threw himself down spontaneously in front of the Blessed Sacrament. The mother got embarrassed and looked around her to see if anyone had seen it. I asked her: “What did you feel?”. She replied: “I wanted to do the same, but didn´t dare!”
Jesus shows us his great love by making his dwelling amongst us under the form of bread, which is reserved in the tabernacle in the Catholic church: “And look, I am with you always; yes, to the end of time” (Matthew 28:20).
Benediction in Mariukirjan, Tórshavn
The individual and communal adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is a continuation of the Mass. It is as if we can never stop being together with Jesus whom we meet during Mass.
Just as it is Jesus himself (and not the priest) who invites us to come to Mass and to his table, it is also he who invites us to pay him a visit in the church during the day or during the course of the week.
The monthly adoration in our church is an invitation from the Lord to be together with him in order to receive his love and to adore him as our God. Come, therefore, as often as possible, even if it´s only for part of the time. Non-Catholics are also welcome!
It is the Church´s ancient tradition to close each day with Evening Prayer (Vespers), which is the liturgical evening prayer service. It is prayed daily in convents, but many parish churches also pray, for example, on Sunday, just as there are many lay people who pray it privately and unite themselves with the whole church in the daily praise of our Triune God. Therefore, we end Adoration with Evening prayer, so that our parish can also be united in this worldwide fellowship of prayer.