“‘Rabbi, where are you staying?’ Each day the Church responds: Christ is present in the Eucharist, in the sacrament of His death and resurrection. In and through the Eucharist, you acknowledge the dwelling-place of the Living God in human history. For the Eucharist is the Sacrament of the Love which conquers death. It is the Sacrament of the Covenant, pure Gift of Love for the reconciliation of all humanity. It is the gift of the Real Presence of Jesus The Redeemer, in the bread which is His Body given up for us, in the wine which is His Blood poured out for all. Thanks to the Eucharist, constantly renewed among all peoples of the world, Christ continues to build His church: He brings us together in praise and thanksgiving for salvation, in the communion which only infinite love can forge.”
– Bl. Pope John Paul II (World Youth Day homily on Sunday, August 24, 1997 in Paris, France

First Holy Communion
We give thanks to God for the great grace of 172 children who were able to receive their First Holy Communion at St. James Parish in Mt. Rainier, Maryland, in the Archdiocese of Washington, DC. The First Communions were celebrated in four Masses taking place over this past weekend. St. James Parish is in the care of priests from the Institute of the Incarnate Word, the male branch of our Religious Family. One of our sisters is the Director of Religious Education for the parish, and several sisters teach various weekend catechism classes which are offered in both Spanish and English. During the school year, sisters and brothers from the Incarnate Word also run an Oratory for children every Saturday according to the method of St. John Bosco. John Bosco’s basic theory was to teach children how to have fun in healthy ways to keep them from falling into sin, and to bring them to Christ by giving them an example of love and patience.

Procession in Honor of Our Lady of Fatima
This year, the feast of Our Lady of Fatima, May 13th, fell on Sunday. In order to honor Our Lady of Fatima and to thank her especially for the grace of so many First Communions, the parish organized a procession along the streets in front of St. James Church. The procession was lead by the children who had received their First Communion that weekend, all wearing their beautiful white dresses and suits, symbols of their purity and innocence. During the procession, the people prayed a bilingual rosary and sang songs to the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is very wonderful to see so many people willing to participate in such a visible display of their faith, especially in this time when the Church in America is experiencing attacks against freedom of conscience. We ask for your prayers for all the children who received their First Communion this year as we entrust them into the hands of Our Lady, the Mother of all Christians.

For further reflection on the gift of the Eucharist, please follow this link to a homily given by Bl. John Paul II for the close of the 46th International Eucharistic Congress in Wroclaw, Poland. (Pope John Paul II, homily Wroclaw, Poland, 1997). Please pray for the Fiftieth International Eucharistic Congress coming up in Ireland next month from June 6th to the 9th in Dublin, learn more about the event: www.iec2012.ie