Topic Progress:

(4.43) The Fraction of the Bread

After the Rite of Peace, a series of rituals follow namely:

a)    Breaking Bread or Fraction of the Bread

b)   Agnus Dei

c)    Mingling of the Body and Blood


Breaking Bread

The breaking of the bread signifies that we are one with Christ for we are many but we come to share one body. This is echoed by the words of St Paul on his letter to the Corinthians;

“…The bread that we break, is it not a sharing in the Body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread” (1 Cor 10:16-17).


Blessing and breaking bread is a common Jewish tradition of sharing a meal. Jesus also practices such tradition of taking, blessing, breaking and giving bread;

a) in Feeding the Five Thousand (Mt 14:19, Mk 6:41, Lk 9:16, Jn 6:11)

b) in Feeding the Four Thousand (Mt 15:36, Mk 8:6)

c) in the Institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper (Mt 26:26, Mk 14:22, Lk 22:19, 1 Cor 11:24)

d) when the resurrected Christ appeared to the Disciples and made himself known by breaking of the bread (Lk 24:30).


The breaking of the bread is of huge significance to the Catholics for when he fed the four and five thousand, he first showed us his power of changing physical reality. In the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper, he was able to change the substance of the Bread and wine to his Body and Blood. And when he revealed himself after Resurrection through the breaking of the bread, he fulfilled and revealed his promise of salvation and redemption for us.


Indeed, breaking bread and prayers is part of the devotion of the first converts to Christianity – in addition to devotion to  the apostle’s teaching and fellowship (Acts 2:42) and had been part of Christian gathering and was associated with Resurrection (Acts 20:7-12).


The Lamb of God (Agnus Dei)

While the bread is being broken, we sing or recite The Lamb of God acknowledging the presence of Christ in the Consecrated bread as the Lamb of God.

We say:

Lamb of God, you take away the sins

of the world, have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sins

of the world, have mercy on us.

Lamb of God, you take away the sins

of the world, grant us peace.


Lamb of God is the name which John the Baptist exclaimed when he saw Jesus coming towards him for baptism (Jnn 1:29) and when John saw Jesus walk by (Jn 1:37). For it was revealed to John that Jesus was the Sacrificial Lamb sent by God to save us from our sins.

He is the Lamb of God whose bones were not broken “so that the scripture might be fulfilled” in parallel with the direction for the Passover meal in which the sacrificial animals bone was not broken (Ex 12:46).


Mingling of the Body and Blood

After the breaking of the Bread, the priest will drop a small piece of the bread (Body) into the wine (Blood). This act signifies unity of the body and blood of Christ as we are expected to be united under one Church as one people.