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The separate consecration of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ. This separate consecration constitutes the essence of the Mass as a renewal of Calvary. It symbolizes the death of Christ caused by the separation of his body and blood. All other parts of the Mass are not absolutely essential, even the priest's Communion, which, though gravely binding, belongs rather to the integrity than to the essence of the Eucharistic sacrifice.
All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.