The celebration of Mass is the center of Christian life. All other liturgical rites and all the works of the Christian life are linked and ordered to the Eucharistic celebration. They flow from it and have it as their end.
Parents have a right and a duty to be intimately involved in the preparation of their children for First Communion. Catechesis aims to help a child grow in understanding and appreciation of the gift and mystery of the Eucharist.
Children under the age of 7 who have received the Sacrament of Baptism must receive two years of formation prior to making their First Holy Communion. Children who are 8 years old and up, who are already baptized, may make their First Holy Communion after a year of Catechetical instruction. Children with special needs who are already baptized must also receive appropriate Catechesis based on their particular needs.
A child that is able to understand the difference between ordinary bread and the Eucharist, has a sincere desire to receive the sacrament, has received catechetical formation and has received the sacrament of Penance for the first time will be considered ready to make his or her First Holy Communion.
Regular Mass attendance and active participation are indispensable to grow in love of Christ and appreciation of gift and mystery of the Eucharist. Participating in the celebration of the Eucharist, Holy Mass, includes praying and singing. It also means being present for the entire Mass. Parents are expected to come to Mass every Sunday with their children. Families are encouraged to sit together in a place where the children can easily see the Altar and to share experiences with one another. Parents are also encouraged to go through the parts and readings of Mass with their children so as to help them to learn responses, recognize the parts of Mass and become familiar with the prayers and liturgical actions. Parents are also encourage to teach their children by their own witness and are reminded that there is one hour fast from food and drink in preparation for receiving Holy Communion and also that a person who is aware of a mortal (serious) sin must receive the sacrament of Penance before receiving Holy Communion.
To participate fully in the Eucharist, however, the child must continue to grow in his or her understanding of this great gift and mystery, in particular the following facts
- The presence of Christ in the Eucharist.
- The Eucharist as the memorial of the Lord’ passion, death and resurrection that makes present the one and only sacrifice of Christ.
- The Eucharist as a meal given to us by Christ that nourishes with His Body and Blood so that we may grow in love of God and neighbor.
- The Eucharist as a bond of communion with our brothers and sisters in Christ.
- The Eucharist as anticipation of the banquet in God’s kingdom.
- The Eucharist in Holy Scripture, especially the Last Supper.
- The Eucharist and the love of the Father, the sacrifice of Christ and the gift of the Spirit.
- The events in the public life of Jesus.
- The worship due to the Eucharist.
Your efforts to participate in the activities of this program will enrich your relationship with the Lord and within your family. We acknowledge and honor your efforts and pray that this experience will deepen your own understanding and appreciation for the gift of the Eucharist, one of the central mysteries of our beautiful Catholic faith, the center of Christian life, the source and summit in the life of the Church!