SOME GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF PARTICULAR IMPORTANCE IN THE CATECHESIS OF THE PEOPLE ON THE MYSTERY OF THE EUCHARIST
5. What Is Required of Pastors Who Are to Give Instruction about This Mystery
Suitable catechesis is essential if the mystery of the Eucharist is to take deeper root in the minds and lives of the faithful.
While recalling all that was said above in no. 3, one should take special note of the following.
6. The Mystery of the Eucharist as the Center of the Entire Life of the Church
The catechesis about the Eucharistic Mystery should aim to help the faithful to realize that the celebration of the Eucharist is the true center of the whole Christian life both for the universal Church and for the local congregations of that Church. For "the other sacraments, as indeed every ministry of the Church and every work of the apostolate, are linked with the Eucharist and are directed toward it. For the Eucharist contains the entire spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ Himself, our Passover and living bread, offering through His flesh, living and life-giving in the Spirit, life to men who are thus invited and led on to offer themselves, their labors, and all created things together with Him."28
The Eucharist both perfectly signifies and wonderfully effects that sharing in God's life and unity of God's People by which the Church exists.29 It is the summit of both the action by which God sanctifies the world in Christ and the worship which men offer to Christ and which through him they offer to the Father in the Spirit.30 Its celebration "is the supreme means by which the faithful come to express in their lives and to manifest to others the mystery of Christ and the true nature of the Church."31
7. The Mystery of the Eucharist as the Focal Point of the Local Church
It is through the Eucharist that "the Church continually lives and grows. This Church of Christ is truly present in all legitimate local congregations of the faithful which, united with their pastors, are called churches in the New Testament. These are, each in its own place, the new People, called by God in the Holy Spirit and in all fullness (cf. I Thess. 1:5). In them the faithful are gathered by the preaching of Christ's Gospel, and the mystery of the Lord's Supper is celebrated, 'so that through the Body and Blood of the Lord the whole brotherhood is united.' 32 Every gathering around the altar under the sacred ministry of the bishop" 33 or of a priest who takes the place of the bishop 34 "is a sign of that charity and 'unity of the Mystical Body, without which there can be no salvation.' 35 In these communities, though they may often be small and poor or living amongst the 'diaspora,' Christ is present, by whose power the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church is united. For 'the partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ has no less an effect than to change us into what we have received'." 36, 37