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In word: epiklesis.

The action of calling down the holy spirit into the elements is the act of consecration. It is not just a spoken but a manual action "Send your holy spirit so that these gifts may be made for us into the +body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ" is accompanied by holding the hands out over the elements.

The priest acts as a conduit through the grace of holy orders. It isn't magic, but it is mysterious.

You might want to consider conmingling - a small part of the precious blood taken and mixed with other gifts in other places to share in that eucharist.

Historically, this is why the priest takes a small piece of the host and places it inside the chalice - when mass was celebrated by the Pope (I'm talking 7th Century here), they'd take a fragment of the host he consecrated and deacons would run to all the other basilicas in Rome and priests would add this fragment into the chalice to make the point about the eucharist being about unity - "though we are many, we are one body, because we all share the one bread".

steve collins

i'm not convinced by this, since all one is doing is asking god to be present. if a specific gesture [or form of words] is required then we are in the realm of magic [ie the belief that particular words or actions have supernatural effects].

not that i have that view of priesthood anyway. my understanding of christianity is of a radical abolition of all human 'priesthoods' [because all are priests/christ is the only priest]. the subsequent return of the priestly order through parallelism with the OT was a mistake.

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