First Holy Communion
“I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” (John 6:35)
Children in the Parish who are beginning Year 3 (or above) at Primary school are eligible to join the Programme to prepare for the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist. This programme is led by a team of catechists and also involves some parents meetings with Fr Colin. Programme dates to follow soon. Please complete a registration form and return to the parish office. Registration Forms are also available on the wall rack in the church porch. Registration begins during the previous summer with a closing date of 16th September. Parents are also required to attend some sessions, because the life of faith at home is essential to the preparation of the child. Please see programme for schedule of dates.
The term "Eucharist" comes from the Greek "eucharistia" meaning thanksgiving. The Eucharist is also called communion because it brings us into union with God and each other. It is, therefore, the third and final Sacrament of Initiation. Unlike Baptism and Confirmation which are once only Sacraments, we continue to receive the Eucharist, throughout our lives, to nourish and sustain us.
The Eucharist is centred around a commemoration of the Last Supper and makes present for us here and now, the once and for all sacrifice of Calvary. The priest takes bread and wine and speaks the words of consecration over them so that they become the Body and Blood of Christ. When we eat the Body and Blood of Christ we are unified with him and everyone in his Church. We are able to share in Christ's divine life. Only a priest or bishop can celebrate mass and consecrate the bread and wine. Communion is often distributed during Mass, and to the sick, by lay people called special Ministers of Holy Communion.
What parents can do?
In Liturgy the Divine action is communicated to us through human gestures, words and symbols. The first task of parents in helping their children to teach their children the meaning of ordinary gestures and signs which people use.
Through experiencing the meaning of welcoming, exchanging greetings forgiving and accepting forgiveness, listening, thanking and sharing as well as taking part in special family meals and celebrations, children can be trained for worship. Above all parents need to give their children the experience of daily prayer and the opportunity to take part in the Mass with the family on Sundays, the Lord’s Day!
Parents can help their child to participate by:
- Arriving at the church in good time and sitting where your child can see the altar
- Dipping your hand in holy water and signing yourself on arrival, in memory of your baptism
- Genuflecting (or making a solemn bow) towards the tabernacle on arrival and departure
- Saying "sorry" to each other during the Penitential Rite if you have need to do so
- Signing your forehead lips and heart in unison with the priest or deacon before the proclamation of the gospel
- Talking about the message of one of the readings (preferably the Gospel) after Mass and considering how the family might try to live that message during the coming week
- Using simple intercessions (praying for other people) as part of night prayers at home
- Encouraging your child to give a small offering to any collection for those in need, such as for CAFOD
- Helping your child to follow the hymns and chants and join in the responses
- Encouraging your child to stand, sit and kneel at the appropriate time
- Letting your child recognise, through your own participation, what you believe
- Reminding your child during the Eucharistic Prayer of the moments when the priest prays over the bread and wine (like Jesus did at the Last Supper) and also when he prays for the living, and later for those who have died – maybe using an illustrated children’s Mass book.
- Encouraging your child to give the sign of peace - actually looking at the person they are sharing the peace with - and especially among the family is there has been any tension or difficulty
- Taking your child up to receive a blessing at Communion time (as well as receiving a blessing yourself, if you are not receiving Communion) by crossing your arms over your chest.
- Engaging in moments of personal prayer, after Communion especially, and encouraging your child to do the same
- Among your own children set a pattern of age-appropriate behaviour in church
- Try to show that being with the community at Mass is important to you
- Taking home a Newsletter and sharing any relevant news with your child
Adults who are Baptised, or received into the Church, receive their First Eucharist immediately. See RCIA Programme for adults.