Sunday, April 27, 2008

Advent Wreath

The Advent Wreath is seasonal item that is a circle of evergreen foliage that holds four candles to represent a week of Advent. In the more modern times we are seeing advent wreaths made out of pewter, brass, silver and even gold with thematic items such as the nativity etched to the ring that holds the candles. The four candles are there to represent the coming of Christmas and remind us of the birth of Jesus, who bears the name of light of the world.

The original Advent Wreath started in Germany and can be dated back to Bavaria in the 1700s. The thought was the Germans were using it to help light the long dark winter nights where as Advent takes place during the times when the darkness of night is predominant and leads up to the Winter Solicits which is the day of the year that has the most amount of darkness and daylight is very scarce. Other countries picked up this custom and it spread throughout Western Europe and though immigration made its way to the United States.

The four Candles that are placed in the Advent Wreath mark the four Sundays that make up the Sundays of Advent. There are three purple candles, that match the sanctuary colors of advent, and one rose or pink candle. The readings for each of the Sundays are very well thought out and are geared to the waiting and penitential in nature. The Old Testament readings for the first few weeks focus on our sinfulness and the sinfulness of man so that we recall that as we prepare to welcome the Christ Child into the world.

Through the ages Advent has mimicked Lent but did change from a season of fasting to a season of simple abstinence. And originally Advent ran from the middle of November though Christmas. It was shortened in the 9th century. The Advent Season and the Advent wreath in the present day are a simple reminder for our joy in waiting for Jesus and the candles do remind us that Jesus is the light.



Saturday, April 26, 2008

Mothers Day

Mother's day is celebrated on the second Sunday in May and is set aside to honor our Moms. But how did this holiday come to be. In the United States there it was imported from the British holiday called Mothering Sunday and celebrated as part of the 4th Sunday of Lent. In the 16th century children once a year on Mothering Sunday would go to mother's church which reunited parents with their children that day. Although there was little documentation it was believed these children were working for someone and away from home. Some were woman who were slaves and this was the one day of the year that they could return home and see their families.

Despite the fact that the holiday is now secular, there are churches that go back to the Christian roots of the holiday and pay homage to Mary, Our Spiritual Mother. May is also designated by the church as a month devoted to Mary and extra attention is paid to Mary. There are definitely Christian roots in this holiday though.

The holiday was imported to the United States by Julia Ward Howe after the civil war. Howe is a well know social activist and was an American Abolitionist. But her most famous accomplishment is the penning of the Battle Hymn of the Republic. In 1870 Howe wrote the Mothers day Proclamation and it was one of the early mentions to celebrate Mother's Day in the United States

Her idea for mother's day was inspired by Ann Jarvis who was trying to improve sanitation at work. She called her crusade Mothers Work Days. She was able to get women during the Civil War to work towards better sanitation conditions. When Ann Jarvis died her Daughter, Anna Jarvis worked to getting a memorial day for women started and was successful in Grafton West Virginia. On May 10ths 1908 the first Mothers Day was held. Ironically the young lady who wanted to honor her own mother and started the whole concept was so upset with the commercialization of the holiday that she started to become an opponent to it. However, Mothers Day continues to be one of the most successful US holidays. It is a great opportunity to get your mom a Mother's Day Gift to thank her for being your Mom.


About the Vatican

The Vatican is the geographical head of the Catholic Church. Its is 109 acres in the middle of Rome that is its own sovereign nation that is home to the Pope. The estimated population is 813 that live within the wall of the city state. And, the government is an ecclesiastical government with the Pope at the head of it. The Vatican was giving its sovereignty in 1929 and reaffirmed in 1984.

The history of the Vatican and it being the primary residence of the pope dates back to the 5th century. It was in the 5th century when Constantine had St Peter's Basilica built. Prior to this the pope lived in the Lateran Palace until the 14th century at the time of the Babylonian captivity in france. At that point the Papacy to Rome and the Vatican became home of the Pope. This is usually dated to 1377.

The method of how a saint is selected was another process that was modified by Rome in more recent times. Pope John Paul canonized more Saints in recent history adding to the rich tapestry that makes up the Catholic Church.

The Vatican has one of the largest art collections in the world. And has the Sistine Chapel which was painted by Michelangelo in 1508-1512, which is one of the largest paintings in the history of man. The popes that ruled in the Renaissance time worked to amass one of the greatest collections. They built fine galleries for this art. Additionally Pope Gregory XIII and Sixtus V dedicated to building the Vatican and built the Quirinal, which was a place for the pope. The popes lived there from 1870 to 1946. Presently its is now the royal palace of Italy and where the president of Italy now resides.

The Vatican also have their own news agency and most all major events are cleared though the Vatican. The Vatican also has huge library including the transcripts that date back to the Spanish Inquisition. It is believed that this library is one of the largest collections of ancient and medieval writings in many languages. It has much history and tradition that it maintains within its walls.

Friday, April 25, 2008

About the Saints

The Catholic church has people who are designated Saints. So what does that mean. And why or how do they come to the conclusion that they are Saints. The Saints are a group of people that by their actions, including martyrdom, are known to be in heaven without any doubt. The Saints go back to the first Pope, Peter. The list includes the twelve apostles and St. Paul. Those are the earliest Saints know.

There are three levels a saint must pass though on the road to sainthood. They are Venerated, Beatified, and Blessed and the process can stall at any point, leaving the person locked at that level indefinitely.

The heroic virtue element is necessary or martyrdom. A martyr is a person who has died for being Christian, died because of their belief in God and in essence died for the faith.

Heroic Virtue are the virtues we were all taught in school. They are faith hope and charity and prudence, justice, temperance and fortitude. If you think about the saint you will easily find at least one of these virtues. Take St. Vincent DePaul being the Apostle of Charity. We should all strive to meet these virtues in our own life's and the Saints do give us a model for us to follow of how to implement these virtues into our own lives.

From the bishop, once he has documented the person's life and their virtue, he then sends a recommendation to Rome to the part of the Vatican called the Sacred Congregation for the Causes of Saints. They review all the information collected and do their own investigation to see if the person can either qualify as Martyr or having a life of heroic Virtue. If the person meets this bar, they are then named Venerable. This is the first stop and the person may remain on this level for centuries.

The next level would be to send this person to the Pope. The pope would again have to review to see if there was evidence of heroic virtue. But to reach the level of Beatification, the person has to have a miracle attributed to them, either in action or in prayer. The miracle has to be certified as not being able to explain though science or doctors. It can be a cure of cancer or a recovery from a car accident. Once the cure or miracle has been confirmed and it has been determined that you it cannot be explained though modern technology, the person is then elevated to the status of Blessed.

What the designation of Blessed means is that the person is one step from canonization. The requirements for Canonization is to have another miracle performed by the person. The second miracle has another review to make sure the Vatican wants to elevate the person to sainthood. The canonized saint is then added to the to the liturgical calendar.



Beth Guide is the webmaster for Rosary Religious Inspirational Gifts .


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Eucharist Prayer

There are many facets to the Eucharist prayer. But it is truly the heart of the church and something that should be explained to each child receiving their first communion. As we look at the prayer, we first must understand what Eucharist is, what it means. Most of all the Eucharist is thanksgiving, taken from the Greek word Eucharistia.

As we look at the anatomy of the pray at that is used we see that there are many instances of a Berakah, a Jewish Meal prayer of Thanksgiving. According to Pope John Paul II in his Encyclical, Esslesia DeEucharistisia. The Eucharist has always been a meal and set forth by Christ at the Last Supper. There is definite scriptural Foundation of the Eucharist. It appears in Mt 26:20, Mk 14:17 and Lk 22:14. Additionally, the other Jewish element was the Towdah, or the sacrifice that was handed down by King David after he defeated the Levites.

The Eucharistic pray has some interesting history as well. There are presently 13 Eucharistic prayers with #2 and #3 being the most commonly used. Ironically Eucharist Prayer #1 is what is known as the Roman Canon. It was the only Eucharistic prayer all the way up though 1968. In 1968 they sat down and wrote many of these prayers out. Eucharistic prayer #2 has the oldest roots, however. The words and parts of Prayer #2 date back to the the 300s. The formal roman Canon version of the Eucharistic Prayer was founded in the 5th century and used verbatim during all masses up though 1968, but #2 is the oldest in its content and format.

No discussion of the Liturgy of the Eucharist or Eucharistic Prayer can be looked out without looking at the Liturgy of the Word. The Liturgy of the Word is needed because it helps and prepares is to see Christ in Eucharist. It is definitely needed for the communicant to get the most out of the Eucharist experience. To signify the importance of the Eucharist St. Thomas Aquinas made a very interesting analogy. He said that the Eucharist has the same effect of nourishment on the soul of the person as food and drink has on the health and well being of the person. These only further highlights why we must prepare ourselves to get the most out of the Eucharistic banquet.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

The Pope and Obama

I can't help but draw a contrast in something. There is two men speaking about Hope. What's odd is that the one with the solid hope only highlights how empty the Hope argument is in the other.

Let me just put this out of the way. I'm pro-life and the for sanctity of life. I do not understand any Catholic who votes for a democratic candidate in the modern error. I'm not too happy with McCain either but at least he understands some fundamental life issues likes it wrong to stab a new born baby in the back of the head with a fork and then suck its brains out until it skull collapses. You may have heard of this procedure before its called partial birth abortion and it includes children who are born alive and viable. Pish posh you say, it can't be. Well it is. Look it up.

And while I'm on the abortion kick, there is another thing that bugs me with Obama. Well bugs is a mild and tame. Okay so in Illinois where Obama is from, he voted as a State Senator, any child born alive in a botch abortion was to be left to die and not administered medical attention. Its in humane. That is just disgusting and despicable. And our media covers up these facts.

Okay so what I wanted to say is this. The Pope wrote a great encyclical on Hope and how there is hope in Christ. And then we have Obama, where our hope is to be in Obama and in the federal government. Its wildly amazing the differences.

Additionally Obama says he's a Christian however, he feels bitterness is why people move to God. I personally don't think that bitter people move to God. But the religious in the world see the hope, but not Obama's brand of hope. I know I look for what God tries to tell me in this world but I think God is hitting us over the head with a Pope who brings hope to our country and a candidate that speaks of empty hope.

I think we should all examine the words of the Pope and any that are leaning toward Obama should take the extra time contrast the two men. "And then figure out which brand of hope you prescribe to. One rooted in Jesus or one Rooted in Obama. One says God Bless America. One sits in the pew of a church that says God Damn America. Its a pretty stark contrast.

History of Advent

Advent is the first season of the liturgical year within the Catholic church. Its is a period of waiting that occupies the four weeks prior to Christmas. Advent is a season that should be used for penance, and reflection to ready the Christian person for the arrival of the Christ child.

The use of the word Advent stems from Latin and means second coming. It is a season that looks forward to the second coming of Jesus and yes has mindful and penitential elements as well. It is a true season of preparation, and not just for Christmas itself but also the second coming the Lord. Advent also draws from the Hebrews who were the ones who were originally waiting for their Messiah.

In the western churches, Advent begins on Advent Sunday or the first day of the liturgical year. And, this Sunday is also the first Sunday of Advent. The garments of the priest are now a deep purple and that keeps with the penitential spirit of the sacrament.

The earliest writings on the season date back to 480, according to when St. Gregory, who document St. Perpetuus in his book the History of the Franks. There was a passage that spoke of fasting three times a week from the feast of St. Martin, customarily Nov 11, until Christmas and said that St. Perpetuus spoke of it. Although it is unsure whether he started the custom or was speaking of an existing one. Also he denoted the period of 40 days equal to many things in the early Jewish and Christian churches. Jesus was in the desert for 40 days as were the Israelites. Noah's flood was 40 days and in the more modern times, Lent also was 40 days. Advent was also thought of as a second Lenten Season and was viewed the same as the penitential elements of Lent so were Advent.

The Council of Tours in 567 addressed fasting implored the monks to fast every day from the first day Day of December until Christmas. The penitential practice soon became a full 40 days and how the feast of St. Martin was picked. Advent called in the early church St. Martin's Lent. Then in 582, the First Council of Macon specified that the days between St. Martin's to Christmas be days of fasting, designating Monday, Wednesday and Friday as those days. The canon went on to say these days should be treated the same as Lent.


First Penance must Precede First Communion

As children prepare for their First Communion, the church clearly also states that the child must have also celebrated their first Confession, or first penance prior to receiving their first Eucharist. The Magisterium is very clear on that however, even though this was all outlined in 1977, there are still some dissenting opinions.

Pope Pius X in 1916 decreed that children were to receive the sacraments of penance and then partake in their First Communion as soon as they reach the age of reason. That is usually 6-7 years old. This became the practice of the church and why our children receive their first Eucharist at such a young age. The Church has seem great results from going with this but the need for confession is something that we will continue to hear from the Pope.

In 1971, there was an addendum to the Catechetical Directory which said that communion must be preceded by penance. The document said that although the Holy See Judges heard all the discussion it was fitting that now there would be no deviation and that the Church mandated that confession was done prior to First Communion .

The document did recognize that there was some areas that were celebrating the Eucharist first then Penance. They said that the parishes and areas that are doing this could if they let the Holy See know and they were still of one mind with the Vatican. Pope Paul VI finalized the change and by 1973 school year all churches were to be following the new rule.

The move was also based in scripture. St. Paul was the first person to say that you should have a norm established that even applies to children. In addition this protected the integrity of the Eucharist itself. There should be and examination of conscience prior to receiving Eucharist. The concern is that children cannot clearly do it and need some help. By putting them with a priest to confess to, this allows them to guide the child though the process.

A pastor that is well practiced in hearing confession understand the importance of a child who is receiving their first Penance so that they are fully prepared to receive their first communion.

The benefits of receiving Penance first are so great that the dissenters cannot mount a compelling argument enough to change the order again. As a result first communion will always be given after first penance.




Friday, April 18, 2008

Call To Conversion

Approximately 10 years ago the United States Bishops mandated that this new way to bringing adults and children older than 4 into the church be implemented in all United States parishes. The RCIA label was assigned when they passed this mandate. In 2000, the Bishops decided to re-evaluate again. They found that RCIA process was working in some places but nonexistent in others. They felt it was important for the congregation to participate in the process and just as important as the person that was coming into the church. What is most interesting about this is the bishops so much believed in this process that they said even though there were some parishes without a process in place, they said that they were not going change the process because it was that important.

The bishops strongly believed that this process can renew parish life. RCIA is a journey and is often within the groups are referred to as one. It is also a journey of conversion for the parish as well. The parish is involved in the process now and they should be welcoming these candidates and catechumens/elect into the church. The congregation participates in the rights of ignition that the candidates and catechumens walk though.

If the RCIA program is run well it can be a great experience for the whole parish as they watch and help walk with the new converts on their journey. They help as sponsors. They also may be asked to pray for them. And if asked they may be faced with questions from them. They may be asked to share their faith in witnessing about it. The support the parish offers to their coverts is very similar to the early church and in part why the bishops want to stick with this process. As the congregation walks with the converts they are also renewing their own faith and reinforcing their own conversion.

The conversion to Jesus Christ is a lifelong process and the RCIA is a wonderful reminder to all members of the parish. It gives opportunity to reflect on the vows made in Baptism and renew those promises. This recommits each member of the congregation to Jesus and makes each one a far better witness to Christ.s teachings.

Medicine of Immortality found in Eucharist

St. Ignatius of Antioch said in 100 a.d., Eucharist is the medicine of immortality so we do not die but live forever in Jesus. Catholics profoundly believe that their participation in the mass, and their participation in Communion will help them gain the eternal life with Jesus. During the mass though the Holy Spirit, bread and wine Is transfigured into the body and blood of Jesus, and gives the believers in the Real Presence the promise of eternal life.

Though the ages, the Saints have given opinion in on the subject of the Real Presence and the significance and roll in the Eucharist in salvation. St. Irenaeus in his writing Against the Heresies,, who is known for forming doctrine and combating heresies in the early church, said that "our bodies, having received the Eucharist are no longer corruptible, because they have the home of the resurrection.

The word transubstantiation has been used since the middle ages to describe the changing of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Our Lord. The word actually means it changes the substance although visibly they maintain the same color, shape and chemical makeup. The reality is the substance changed.

The Real Presence does remain after consecration and transubstantiation. The remaining hosts are placed in the tabernacle and the remaining Blood is consumed by the priest or Eucharistic minister. The remain Communion hosts are saved for the sick or the dying, what the church calls the Viaticum. Additionally the hosts are also left so that the faithful can spend time with the Lord in prayer and worship.

Despite the fact that the Bible is very clear on the Real Presence, polls seemed to indicate there are issues with the Post Vatican II Catholics who don't believe that Eucharist is nothing more than a symbol and NOT the Real Presence. Jesus himself said "This is my body." This leaves no room for discussion.

And most of all the early church was committed to make sure the words and actions of Christ at the Last Supper honored. Jesus himself instituted the Eucharist at the Last Supper and there for it was their mission to make sure that it was honored. They recognized exactly what St. Ignatius said in the first century, that our immortality was directly tied to the Eucharist.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Fruits of the Holy Spirit

After a candidate received the Sacrament of Confirmation, and he receives the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the Church teaches that these gifts bear fruits, the Fruits of the Spirits. These fruits are Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Generosity, Gentleness, Faithfulness, Modesty, Self-Control and Chastiy.

The Fruits of the Spirit is a concept found in Chapter 5 :22 of Galatians and given the name Fruit because it was meant to imply harvest or the result of the Gifts the Holy Spirit gives during Confirmation.

The fruit of love is also known as agape love and there is a full description of love from Corinthians 13:4-8. It is often read at weddings because it fully describes what love should be..

Joy is beyond happiness, which is just conditional or emotional. You can be happy or experience happiness when eat a good dinner. Joy is a state of mind that often involves being in fellowship with God. Peace is having a restful relationship with God. In obtaining this, the confirmed is more receptive to the will of God

Patience is the ability to endure and be strong. It's also the ability to better mirror Jesus with his ability to be patient with us. Patience is also a way to better carry our crosses without any upset.

Kindness is having sympathy and understanding for others and showing concern for those in need.

Goodness is attained when the candidate is more in tune with God and what his will is for us. Conjoined is Gentleness, having mild disposition and behavior and helping to not being angry or bearing resentment.

The Fruit of Faith is the ability to believe what we cannot see. Faith is part of our intellect and in order to have faith in God we must be willing accept God over that intellect. It is by this faith that we understand the we should not commit sin and follow Christ's blue print to gain entrance into heaven.

Modesty, Self-Control And Chastity are all fruits that tie together. Modesty helps us to avoid offensive behavior even if it is not required in the circumstance. Chastity tempers the desires of the flesh even with in marriage. And in order to act Chaste, you must act with self control especially when dealing with unruly sexual urges.

The fruits of the Spirit elevate the confirmed person giving them the ability to better conduct their mission to spread the news of Jesus.






The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit

One of the major aspects of the Sacrament of Confirmation are the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit that are bestowed on the candidate when they are sealed with the Holy Spirit. The candidate when participating in Confirmation accepts that their mission is to be witnesses of Jesus in their families and communities. And, the reception of those gifts helps each candidate succeed on their mission.

The gifts are wisdom, understanding, knowledge, fortitude, counsel, piety and fear of the Lord are the seven gifts although the gifts will manifest themselves over the candidates lifetime.

The gift of wisdom gives the confirmed the gift to see the worlds though Gods eyes and viewpoint.

The gift of knowledge helps the confirmed use thoughtful reflection and contemplation on the mystery of God. It also helps with the mysteries of the Trinity and as well as the Catholic faith, according to the United States Catholic Catechism.

The gift of understanding is to help the candidate learn themselves and how to grow in knowing God.

The gift of fortitude is also known as the courage. The confirmed can used this gift to stand up for Jesus and his teaching.

The gift of counsel is also known as right judgment and is the perfection of practical reasoning. And after the candidates learns though research how the candidate applies the knowledge.

The gift of piety is the reverence and respect we show to the Father. Reverence may be learned from parents and teachers.

And lastly the gift of Fear of the Lord, allows us the awe of the majesty of God. This also is what makes us grateful wonder of God and his love for the candidate.



Saturday, April 12, 2008

Sacrament of Confirmation

The final sacrament of initiation, Confirmation sees the baptized person sealed with the gifts of the Holy Spirit. But with these gifts comes the responsibility of service to the Body of Christ. Historically, the Old Testament spoke of God's spirit and how the Messiah would use the Spirit to help with his mission and infact that's what the person being Confirmed is to do, continue the Mission of Christ.

The church views Confirmation as a very essential sacrament and that every baptized person can and should be confirmed. In fact the catechism says that the faithful is obligated to receive this sacrament at the appropriate time. (CCC No. 1306). The Catechism also says that this is the case because there is a unity between Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation, also the three sacraments of initiation.

The person receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation is always a baptized person. They may be a young adult or maybe a person coming into the church through the RCIA. Or, they may be a person raised Catholic and for some reason did not receive Confirmation when they were younger. Those individuals come into the church at Pentecost Sunday. For young adults it is the present policy of the church to Confirm children when they are the age of discretion, or the age of reason. Presently the church considers that to be the age of 16. Other requirements are that the candidate for Confirmation be in a state of grace.

The church views Confirmation as a very essential sacrament and that every baptized person can and should be confirmed. In fact the catechism says that the faithful is obligated to receive this sacrament at the appropriate time. (CCC No. 1306). The Catechism also says that this is the case because there is a unity between Baptism, Eucharist and Confirmation, also the three sacraments of initiation.

The church asks that the candidate gain a more intimate relationship with the Holy Spirit and become familiar with his gifts, his actions and his biddings so the candidate can be more able to assume apostolic responsibilities of being a Christian, not just a Catholic. In that sense the preparation for Confirmation may be asked to perform community service type actions which mimic the Holy Spirit.

The perpetration for and receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation are an integral part of being a member or the catholic (universal) church.


Inspirational Home Décor

They say your house says a lot about you. For Christians, much of the décor of their home may reflect their beliefs. As you look around your friends homes you can get a feel for were their religious belief fits in their life.

As an Italian American, growing up in North Jersey it was not uncommon to go to a friend's house and find holy water fonts on the wall for you to bless yourself when you walked in. Many of my friends had religious statues of the Blessed Mother or the Sacred Heart of Jesus and a full statue of the Immaculate Heart
of Mary in the living room. Others had a patron saint statue in their kitchen window. And in bedroom they had small statues or knickknack that had a religious theme. I remember my one friend, also Italian, when you walked in they had a like-sized statue of Jesus in their entry foyer.

Often in these homes, you would see each room having a crucifix over the door. One of the nicest religious home décor items is a St. Benedicts crucifix. There are so many symbolic items in this one style of crucifix and it is long believe that having one of these over your doorway does help keep the evil on the outside.

Other religious and inspirational décor items can also be things such as wall hangings that have scriptural verses on the. The 'As for Me and My House' verse (Joshua 24:15) is one of the most popular verses that people use for home décor items. It is often put on wall plaques, coffee mugs and even blankets and throws.

One idea to help with your prayer life is to set up a room or a part of a room of you home as a prayer corner. In this you can have your Bible displayed. Other items may include statuary of the Blessed Mother, the Saints or Jesus to help focus you. The proper setting helps with a good prayer life.

Another type of Inspirational Home décor is Inspirational garden decor. Drive down any street you may see angels guarding over homes and front flower beds. You may see St. Francis with the animals and meek surrounding him or sometimes for garden statuary you will see the Blessed Mother. These statues can make inspirational gardens in your yard to give you an area to be reflective or prayerful in peace. There are also inspirational benches that have scriptural verses on them setting mood or tone for your prayer garden.

Bird baths and wind chimes are other items that one may have to decorate their home with religious items. Things like a St. Francis Birdbaths is are way to bring nature into your backyard again creating a peaceful

Friday, April 4, 2008

The Real Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist

The Catholic Church, since its inception, has always believed in the Real Presence of Jesus in the form o the Eucharist. As a child celebrates their first communion, they too are about to take part in this honored tradition. The Eucharist is the representative or Christ's sacrifice on the cross and his resurrection. The Mass is the container of his special presence.

The teaching that communion was the presence of Jesus and not a symbol goes back to the Council of Trent, the bread and wine are consecrated, the whole substance of the bread is transformed and the wine is transformed into the Precious Blood. When the point in the mass comes and the host is consecrated the church calls this change the transubstantiation. It requires the recipient to have a great faith where as it transcends our human understanding of how this change was made, the mystery of the sacrament of Holy Communion.

The simplest way to explain the concept of real presence is the Eucharist really is the Real Jesus. There are no qualifiers. Catholics do not believe it is a symbol of Jesus. There was a period in time when the belief of Real Presence was threatened. The first occurrence was in the Middle Ages, when some of the French Theologians expressed doubt in the Jesus' real presence in the Eucharist. Berengarius of Tours claimed that it was not possible to change the substance of the bread and wine and denied that Christ's body was on the altar. He based his argument on the pure fact that Jesus could not be present on Earth prior to the Last Judgment.

Pope Gregory VII demanded that Berengarius to agree with the profession of that that was the outline of faith. The fundamental belief was that without question Jesus was present on the altar.. He ended this crisis of faith and Berengarius died in 1088.

The second time this crisis came forth was at the time of the Protestant Reformation. There were similar claims that Berengarian made in the early middle ages. This time the Church used the Council of Trent to reinforce that Jesus is truly present in the Blessed Sacrament.

As children prepare for their First Holy Communion, putting on their communion ties and first communion dresses, there is a great history that long substantiates the basic principle they should have been taught in the communion preparation class, that Jesus is truly present