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The Eucharist

What Do We Believe?

Author(s): Fainche Ryan

ISBN13: 9781856077880

ISBN10: 1856077888


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  • In her work, with both students of theology and people in parishes, Fainche Ryan was struck by the many questions people have, and of how difficult it is to access good solid information on the faith of the Catholic Church. This book addresses this need for accessible theological information on one central aspect of Catholic faith and practice, the Eucharist, 'the source and summit of the Christian life' (Lumen Gentium 11). The book will seek to explain to the reader why Catholics do what they do, and what Catholics understand by the 'Eucharist'. 

    Complex but central ideas such as sacrifice, sacrament and transubstantiation are addressed, and rendered accessible. The feast of Corpus Christi and the very popular practice of Eucharistic adoration is discussed. The often controversial Church teaching regarding who can and cannot receive the Eucharist is  presented and discussed, as is Jesus' challenging practice of eating with 'tax collectors and sinners'. 

    'The book aims to be both instructive and challenging and to go some way to addressing the many questions put to me from my encounters with people, members of parishes, parents of first communicants, friends who have drifted, and not least those who might like to join or simply want to know a little of what Catholics actually believe, all of whom are asking questions but seem to have nowhere to go for answers.'

    Parish members, Eucharistic ministers, priests, parents of first communicants, teachers of first communion classes, members of parish councils, people involved in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults programmes, people involved in Clinical Pastoral Education programmes, Parish Pastoral Workers, first year undergraduate students in sacramental theology, teachers and pupils at second level and those simply inquisitive about Catholic teaching. 

  • Fainche Ryan

    Fainche Ryan lectures in Systemic Theology at Mater Dei Institute of Education, Dublin. She is a member of the Dublin Diocesan Preparation group for the Eucharistic Congress.

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    Aiming to bring the reader into a greater understanding of the mystery of the Eucharist, this book answers questions that Roman Catholic adults and parents may have about the Eucharist. The chapter on inclusion and exclusion in a discussion of Eucharistic welcome is of particular relevance to the Church of Ireland. There is little new here though the author notes that access to the Eucharist by non-Catholic Christians may be ‘permitted or even commended’ by way of exception and under certain conditions. In a mixed marriage situation inter communion can be allowed in “exceptional” circumstances. The author suggests that the term ‘exceptional’ allows a degree of latitude. He suggests that this teaching is “at once clear and yet in need of interpretation by competent Episcopal bodies and not least of wise pastoral application by ministers.


     - Church Review, August 2012

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The Eucharist