First Communion Preparation

“Dear parents of these children: Your love for Christ has made this day possible.  For you are your children’s first teachers in the ways of faith. By what you say and do, you show them the truths of our faith and the values of the Gospel.  This is indeed not only a sacred duty, but a grace, a great privilege.  Many other members of the Church share in this task, but the main responsibility for your children’s religious formation rests upon your shoulders.  So try to make your homes genuinely Christian.  Help your children to grow and mature as Jesus did in Nazareth, ‘in wisdom, in stature and in favour with God and men.’  Allow no one to take advantage of their lack of experience and knowledge.  As you share with them in their personal pilgrimage to God, may you always be united in prayer and worship and in humble love of God and his people.”

St. John Paul II

Title: "Slainte"

Album: A Celtic Dream

Artist: Michele McLaughlin

Parents are the child’s first teacher in matters of faith, it is they who have the main responsibility in preparing their child(ren) for First Holy Communion.  As well as wanting their child to make his/her First Holy Communion they must also be willing to develop their child’s faith through working with their child and attending parents’ meetings not only at this time but from Baptism onwards.

 

Parents, with the encouragement and support of the community, need to recognize that because the Eucharist involves the ‘Body of Christ’, the Church, it is a community activity. Therefore the understanding and skills that children need to enable them to enter fully into the sacrament can only be gained through participating in the parish celebrations.

 

This time of preparation is a significant moment in the development of faith in the Lord which begins at Baptism.  It is an opportunity for parents to grow in their own faith and to gain a deeper understanding and love of the Eucharist at a level that is appropriate to their situation.  Parents and families of children preparing for First Holy Communion need to be affirmed in the way they are bringing up their children within the Catholic faith.  This is shown mainly in the way they love, care and pray with their children and the way in which they help them share in the worship of the community.

 

Parental support and example is very important at this time.  A total lack of parent’s practical participation in the process should raise the question of deferral of First Holy Communion for their child(ren).  However some children make heroic efforts without parental support and should be warmly welcomed to participate int the First Communion preparation. Since we do require parents to take the instruction along with their children, should such a situatio arise, it needs to be done in consultation with the Rector.  Such children may well evangelize their own parents.

 

Parent whose child is baptized and at least 7 years of age, [or close to 7 years of age upon the day of making one's first communion], may request the Rector to have their child register for First Communion instruction.   The children recieve their First Communion on a prescribed Sunday during the 50 Days of Easter.

 

HOW DO I KNOW WHEN MY CHILD IS READY?

 

When speaking of the readiness of a child to celebrate a sacrament, there are three areas to address: the family, the individual, and the parish community.  

 

A) The Family:

 

The family is the primary place where children are formed in faith.

 

  • Does your family participate in the life of the community in the areas of worship, formation (education) and service?

  • Is your child receiving appropriate formation for his/her age?

  • Does your family pray together at home? 

  • As parents, are you willing to commit to the continuing formation of your child in worship, formation and service? 

  • Is your child regularly active in our young people's formmtion programs?

 

B) The Individual:

 

  • Is your child baptized? 

  • Does your child express a desire to receive the Eucharist? 

  • Does your child participate in the worship life of the community on a regular basis? 

  • Has your child been formed in faith in an age appropriate manner? 

  • Is there a commitment from the child to continue formation and participation in the worship life of the community after receiving his or her first communion? 

  • Can your child distinguish Eucharist from ordinary bread? 

  • Because sacraments are community celebrations, St. Uriel’s also has a responsibility in sacramental preparation.  

        

C) The Parish’s Responsibility:

 

  • The along with the parents raising the child in the faith, the parish community also has a responsiblity to provide you (parents) with the necessary support and information to enable you to fulfill your role as primary educator of your child? 

  • That means, the parish must provide opportunities for life-long faith formation? 

  • The Christian community must be one that welcomes children into its life?

 

The First Communion Curriculum: 

When we reflect on what we experience in the Eucharist, on its principal rites and prayers, we discover several Eucharistic themes.  Nine themes in particular provide focal points for a catechesis in preparation for First Communion.  Our First Communion curriculum covers the following.  You will notice that the first class focuses on baptism.  The remaining sessions make the elements found in the Mass.

 

  1. Belonging: The gathering of Christians around the Lord’s table presupposes a community already in existence.  In baptism, the person enters into new life.  Now we join at His holy table to be nourished by the source of our Christ-life, the saving love of God.

  2. Celebrating: The baptismal community proclaims with one voice who we are and who we are called to be.  It is Jesus’ active presence that gives rise to our Eucharistic celebration. 

  3. Listening: Scripture tells the story of God’s love manifested in Jesus.  We believe that Jesus is really present to us when the Church proclaims God’s word.

  4. Caring: We respond to God’s word of love and concern for us by expressing our care and concern for others.  By praying the Prayers of the Faithful for those in need, we commit ourselves to care for others in deeds as well as words.

  5. Making Peace: God’s word calls us to be reconciled with each other and with all those whom we have hurt or who have hurt us.  We express our desire to forgive and our need to be forgiven in several ways in the Eucharist: by joining in the Penitential Rite, by praying the Our Father, and by exchanging the Sign of Peace. 

  6. Giving Thanks for Creation: In the Preparation of the Gifts and the Eucharistic Prayer, we offer thanks for all the gifts God has given us. By bringing forward our gifts of bread and wine, we express our thanks to God for this world and the people in it.

  7. Giving Thanks for New Life: We continue to thank God for the love shown most clearly in the Incarnation, death and resurrection of Jesus.  In the Eucharistic Prayer we recall those events and we thank God for the new life they have brought us.  We commemorate the saving sacrifice of Jesus.  In the real presence of the risen Lord, and moved by His Spirit, we proclaim our faith in the “wonderful works of God.”

  8. Sharing a Meal: Now that we have thanked God for the gifts of creation, we offer the consummate act of thanksgiving: we share in them.  By the power of God, bread and wine that provide us with bodily nourishment are transformed.  They become Eucharist.  When we take, eat, and drink these sacred elements, we receive the Body and Blood of our risen Lord, and we are transformed.  In the Eucharist, we all become one Body in Christ – the Church.

  9. Going Forth to Make a Better World:  Strengthened by God’s word, the Eucharist, and our brothers and sisters – all signs of God’s love – we are sent out into the world.  We go forth with a mission: to transform the world with God’s love.

 

Thus many themes emerge from our experience of the Eucharist.  The Eucharist is about all of them.  It’s about belonging, celebrating, listening, caring, making peace, giving thanks for creation and new life, sharing a meal, and going forth to make a better world.

 

Our First Communion curriculum, We Celebrate the Eucharist introduces the student to all these facets of the Eucharistic mystery so they may be fully incorporated into the Body of Christ.

Why is First Communion important?

Video: First Communion