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The Sacrament Of Holy Communion; A Christian Fellowship

Jun 13, 2012, 3:37 PM | Article By: FR. EDU GOMEZ - Parish of the Resurrection, Brikama

Last Sunday, 10th June 2012 saw a lot of Christian homes and churches celebrating the Sacrament of Holy Communion for their children.  The word sacrament according to the Christian liturgical dictionary, means an external sign that infuses inward or internal grace.  The Catholic Church recognises seven sacraments to which Holy Communion is one of them. The other sacraments are: baptism, penance, confirmation, marriage, holy orders (priesthood) and the pastoral care and anointing of the sick.

In relation to the significance of the sacrament of Holy Communion, the children that are presented undergo a two-year Christian education and formation.  Upon completion of their formation, they are then presented to the church for the reception of the sacrament.

On the fateful Sunday, churches from Banjul to the Provinces of The Gambia celebrated the sacrament. They had their children all neatly dressed in white and taken to church. In some churches, there were large numbers and in others small numbers of candidates for the sacrament.

The Church of St. Theresa’s, Kanifing registered the most numbers, one hundred and sixty, St. Kizito’s church, Bakoteh registered one hundred and seven candidates, the Resurrection church, Brikama, eighty-seven candidates and the Cathedral church in Banjul only registered twelve candidates. The day marked for the sacrament fell on the feast of “Corpus Christi” i.e. the Body and Blood of Jesus. The feast has long been in existence in the church and is part of the liturgical calendar. Through the celebration and reception of the sacrament, the children are enabled to have a closer knowledge and commitment to Jesus Christ, Lord and Saviour.

In the gospel of Luke 22: 14-23, Mat. 26: 26-30 and Mark 14: 22-26, the last supper of Jesus and his apostles is recorded. Jesus had gathered his apostles before his death to have a last meal. During that meal, he left them with the great act of sharing bread and a cup of wine which he called his body and blood.  At the end of the meal he commanded them, “do this in remembrance of me.”

The church had from the beginning followed the gesture of Christ sharing bread and a cup of wine in the Holy Mass daily. This is done to live in communion with Jesus and accepting the life in total commitment to him and his divine teachings.

In John’s gospel, Jn. 6: 25-27, Jesus referred to himself as the bread of life come down from heaven which when eaten gives eternal life. From this scriptural basis, the church always and often take bread and a cup of wine which the priest by the power of ordination transforms into the body and blood of Jesus through the prayers of the church.

From the church celebrations, the families also held other celebrations at their homes.  In the homes the families prepared and cooked delicious meals and delicacies. These they shared with relatives and visitors together with cold drinks and entertainment. The meals were shared freely to all as in the Common of Meals in Acts 2: 44-47. The meals shared and the joyous atmosphere showed true Christian fellowship because many families were brought together to celebrate and meet one another.

The First Holy Communion celebration was a true fellowship of Christian families united in joy.  The day was filled also with a spirit of togetherness where people who have not seen each other for a long time come to meet, see and talk to one another happily. The people celebrated their faith with one another in God. Thus the Catholic tradition hymn expresses: “Fu chofel ak harit ne, Yalla anga fa”.

May the grace and fellowship of God the Father, in the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit be with all Christian families.

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