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You may feel free to download and reproduce these materials in any form which you find meets the needs of your diocese or parish, provided that the materials are not sold in any form. If you reproduce any of the materials as they are, you include the citation: "2010, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. If you have altered the materials, please include the citation: Based upon Roman Missal Formational Materials provided by the Secretariat for the Liturgy of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, "2010.
The Church understands the Communion Procession, in fact every procession in liturgy, as a sign of the pilgrim Church, the body of those who believe in Christ, on their way to the Heavenly Jerusalem. All our lives we who believe in Christ are moving in time toward that moment when we will be taken by death from this world and enter into the joy of the Lord in the eternal Kingdom he has prepared for us. The liturgical assembly of the baptized that comes together for the celebration of the Eucharist is a witness to, a manifestation of, the pilgrim Church. When we move in procession, particularly the procession to receive the body and blood of Christ in Communion, we are a sign, a symbol of that pilgrim Church 'on the way.' For some, however, the experience of the Communion Procession is far more prosaic, analogous perhaps to standing on line in the supermarket or at the motor vehicle bureau. A perception such as this is a dreadfully inaccurate and impoverished understanding of what is a significant religious action. The Communion Procession is an action of the Body of Christ. At Christ's invitation, extended by the priest acting in Christ's person: Happy are they who are called to his supper, the members of the community move forward to share in the sacred meal, to receive the body and blood of Christ which is the sign and the source of their unity. In fact, each time we move forward together to receive the body and blood of the Lord, we join the countless ranks of all the baptized who have gone before us, our loved ones, the canonized and uncanonized saints down through the ages, who at their time in history formed a part of this mighty stream of believers.This action by Christ's body, the Church assembled for the Eucharist, is manifested and supported by the Communion Hymn, a hymn in praise of Christ sung by the united voices of those who believe in him and share his life. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal takes this hymn very seriously, mandating that it should begin at the Communion of the priest and extend until the last person has received Communion.
In Baptism we have been called to form but one body. The Eucharist fulfills this call: 'The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread(1 Cor 10:16, 17):
If you are the body and members of Christ, then it is your sacrament that is placed on the table of the Lord; it is your sacrament that you receive. To that which you are you respond 'Amen' ('yes,' it is true!') and by responding to it you assent to it. For you hear the words, 'the Body of Christ and respond 'Amen.' Be then a member of the Body of Christ that your Amen may be true. (St. Augustine)
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