Catholics believe the Eucharist, or Communion, is both a sacrifice and a meal.
We believe in the real presence of Jesus, who died for our sins. As we receive Christ's Body and Blood, we also are nourished spiritually and brought closer to God.
Eucharist (often called the Mass) originated with Jesus' celebration of his last meal with his disciples (Mark 14:12 -26) and with the weekly meal early Christians shared in memory of Jesus (1 Corinthians 11:17 -34).
As the Christian communities grew larger, Church leaders decided to simplify the meal: they shared only the Eucharistic bread and wine and added Scripture readings and preaching to inspire and instruct people in their faith.
Today the Eucharist assembles Christians together as a faith community and celebrates the presence of Christ among them.