"Un Ti Morceau"

"A Little Something," mini-lessons and reflections by our pastor, Father Paul Counce

Bread & Wine Needed

Published May 27, 2012 by Fr. Paul Counce

Over the past few weeks, these little morceaux have been dealing with preparations for Holy Mass. We know we need an assembly and a priest. Now, what else do we need?

The next two things that are absolutely necessary are bread and wine. These are the elements which Jesus used at the Last Supper: He identified Himself with these elements, and so the Church treasures and preserves this link with her Lord.

The bread must be made out of wheat, and in our “western” Church by tradition it is also unleavened; this means it has no yeast added to make it rise. (In the “eastern” or Byzantine Churches the tradition is different: the rule there is that leavened bread is used at Mass.) It is convenient to use commercial wafers of dehydrated bread, but it is also perfectly acceptable to bake the unleavened bread “fresh” for Mass. (I did this for years when I served as sacristan back in the seminary!) The wine must be grape wine, and can be either red, white, or rosé. Virtually any brand or variety is fine as long as it is at least 12% alcohol by volume, but churches typically purchase specially-produced “altar wines” which are exempt from federal and state taxes, and so are substantially less-expensive than table wines.

Nos. 1333-1334 in the Catechism of the Catholic Church have a lovely meditation on the rich meaning of the bread and wine used at Mass. Why not look this up today, and be inspired by it?

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