In the Eucharist we receive Christ Himself. For all of us, it is obviously important that we are properly prepared and approach the sacrament with the correct disposition. The day of our First Holy Communion should be one of the most memorable and joyful days of our life.
At what point do we receive our First Holy Communion?
Children must be baptised and capable of understanding the fact that they are receiving, not ordinary food, but the Body and Blood of Christ, and can receive the sacrament with reverence. Normally, this occurs when the children are in Year 3 at school. (If an older person has not made their First Holy Communion and wishes to do so, it might, depending upon their age, be appropriate for them to join those preparing for Confirmation or reception into the Catholic Church.
We are conscious that none of us are worthy of so great a gift, yet we must be prepared as well as possible to receive Christ in the Eucharist. This includes receiving forgiveness in the sacrament of Confession for our sins, that is, anything that separates us from Christ and His Church. By the age the children make their First Holy Communion, they know the difference between right and wrong, they are capable of taking responsibility for their own actions. Therefore, they make their First Confession before receiving Communion and they are prepared for this as part of the programme.
The children are mainly prepared by a team of catechists – parishioners who have a great love for the Eucharist and who wish to pass on their love and understanding to the next generation of Catholics. The family, the school, and the priest also have an important role to play in preparing the children. Of course, the celebration of the sacrament will mean more to the children if they are coming regularly to Mass and the faith is a central part of their family life.
The children make their First Holy Communion at St Peter’s in late spring/early summer. There will have been a series of preparatory classes which take place in the parish hall on Sunday morning. The programme will be advertised in the parish newsletter for parents with children of the appropriate age to apply.