Do people actually understand what is happening at the Eucharist?

I recently helped facilitated some focus groups in which some of the newer members of an Episcopal community said that they found the liturgy of the Holy Eucharist difficult to comprehend. They weren’t saying that they didn’t like it, just that they had a hard time understanding it.

Then, this morning, I received the newsletter from St. Paul’s Cathedral in Erie informing me that their dean, the Very Rev. John Downey, would be doing a brief “liturgical teaching” before services this summer.

Do you think most people in our churches understand what is happening during the Eucharist? Does the Eucharist scare people away? Bore them? If so, is there something we can do about this without diluting one of the two central sacraments of our faith?

Is the answer to leave the Eucharist alone and concentrate on education? What kinds or educational approaches have worked for you?

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