When I was growing up in Carlsbad in the 50’s (yes, I’m that old), St. Michael’s was located three blocks south, where the 7-Eleven ​m​ini-mall is now. ​You may have ​seen photos of what it looked like back then​: ​surrounded by a white picket fence​ ​with the entry doors on the side, not the end.

There were ​only ​two services per week, on Sunday​s​ at 9:00 am and 11:00 am. Communion was offered once per month, and then in the late 50’s, increased to twice a month. During that time, the priest ​​wrote to the bishop, asking permission to serve the communion by tincture​ (dipping the wafer into the wine​) ​as it was ​very ​time-consuming to serve wine to everyone from the chalice.

There was no First ​Holy ​Communion ​​sacramental preparation then​ — ​just Confirmation at age 13 or older, with that service being the first time that parishioner ​received ​communion.

Moving forward to the present day, things have changed greatly at St. Michael’s!​ T​he ​H​oly Eucharist is​ available 5 days per week:​ Sunday, and Wednesday through Saturday (see the schedule).

The first Eucharist was at what we know​ of as T​he Last Supper.​ ​On ​the night before Jesus was crucified​, He served bread and wine to the 12 apostles​ ​telling them this symbolized his body and blood, which was to be given for them (​and all of us, as well​​). He asked that they ​observe ​this ​’liturgy’ ​as often as they could, in memory of him​. ​

​E​arly Christians were accused of being cannibals, as the Holy Eucharist ​was ​being talked of as ​consum​ing ​​body and blood. They mistakenly ​presumed​ this was a literal ​and secret ​occurrence​. Remember that t​he early Christians were persecuted, and often had underground caves and dug out areas where they conducted their prayers and the Eucharist. The catacombs, and other caves used for this, ​are now archeological sites​ in Greece and Italy.

Whatever it’s ​nomenclature​​ — ​Holy Eucharist, Communion, or Mass​ — ​it is a celebration and remembrance of our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for our sins that we might live​.​ What a blessing to commemorate this feast at the altars of St. Michael’s by-the-Sea, and to be in Communion with Our Lord and with one another!

This article was written by Ginny Unanue, St. Michael’s Registrar.