In 1921, the Protestant theologian Ferdinand Kattenbusch tried to show that Jesus' words of institution at the Last Supper constituted the act of founding the Church. With these words, he argued, Jesus gave his disciples something new that bound them together and made them into a community. Kattenbusch was right: with the Eucharist, the Church herself was established. Through Christ's body, the Church became one, she became herself, and at the same time, through his death, she was opened up to the breadth of the world and its history.
The Eucharist is also a visible process of gathering. In each locality, as well as beyond all localities, it involves entering into communion with the living God, who inwardly draws people together. The Church comes into being from the Eucharist. She receives her unity and her mission from the Eucharist. She is derived from the Last Supper, that is to say, from Christ's death and Resurrection, which he anticipated in the gift of his body and blood.
-Pope Benedict XVI, Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week