Sacrament and Solidarity

The sacramental life of St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, particularly the sacrament of the Most Holy Eucharist, gave St. Mother Teresa everything that she needed to serve the poorest of the poor in Calcutta. Mother’s words about the Eucharist shed light on how it shaped her life and work: “Every Holy Communion fills us with Jesus and we must, with Our Lady, go in haste to give him to others…” Responding with faith and love to the thirst of Jesus on the Cross, St. Mother Teresa poured herself out for the poor, whom she called “Jesus in his distressing disguise”.

Pope Benedict XVI wrote in his Apostolic Exhortation, Sacramentum caritatis (The Sacrament of Charity), about how the Eucharist compels us to “reconciliation by…dialogue and a commitment to justice” (SC 89). This reconciling feature of Eucharistic communion leads to “a determination to transform unjust structures and to restore respect for the dignity of all men and women, created in God’s image and likeness. Through the concrete fulfillment of this responsibility, the Eucharist becomes in life what it signifies in its celebration” (SC 89). It is in the Eucharist where we are imbued with solidarity with the poor because though Jesus “was rich…he became poor for our sake” (2 Cor. 8:9).

The Parish Ambassador Corps (PAC) was established in order to help form missionary disciples to engage their parishes in this solidarity written about by Pope Benedict XVI and lived out by St. Mother Teresa. Working with Catholic Relief Services (CRS), these missionary disciples, the parish ambassadors, help bring their parish communities closer to the face of Jesus in his distress disguise – the poor around the world. Through the CRS initiatives that involve growing in faith and charity, the parish ambassador is able to be that connection between the sacramental life of the parish and solidarity with our suffering brothers and sisters around the world. If your time with Jesus in the Eucharist has set a fire inside of you for global solidarity, then perhaps the CRS Parish Ambassador Corps is for you. If so, please contact Natasha Wilson at for more information.

May we allow the Eucharist to bring us into closer communion with “Jesus in his distressing disguise.”

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