Food for the Journey

Eucharist - host over chalice - Marina Seoane © Loyola Press. All rights reserved.

Yesterday was quite interesting in terms of contrast. On the one hand, I was part of a First Communion celebration, rejoicing with my young nephew and his family as he received Jesus in the Eucharist for the first time. On the other hand, I was part of an evening Eucharistic celebration at my mother-in-law’s retirement home, where I was about 40 years younger than most people there.

It struck me that the folks at the retirement home were receiving the same Jesus in the Eucharist that my nephew was receiving for the first time. How many times had these people received the Eucharist in their lives since their First Holy Communion? Thousands, I’m sure. And for some, the Communion they were receiving yesterday will be very near to their last on Earth.

As I watched the residents at the retirement home receive Communion, I wished that my nephew could be there to see them, still receiving Jesus in the Eucharist decades after their First Communions. They were profound witnesses to the fact that Jesus and Jesus alone is the food for the journey—the only true source of nourishment.

I was inspired by both ends of the spectrum: by my nephew’s excitement over his First Communion and by the lifelong commitment to the Eucharist by my mother-in-law and the others at the retirement home.

And I’m right in the middle, hoping to maintain the excitement about the Eucharist that my nephew has as well as the enduring commitment to the Eucharist that the residents at the retirement home show.

About Joe Paprocki 2742 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at

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