First Holy Communion is a momentous time in the life of a Catholic child. It is the first time the child takes part in the celebration of the sacrament of the Eucharist, or the body of Christ. Catholics believe the bread and wine are the actual body and blood of Christ and your child's first time accepting the Eucharist is of pivotal importance to his or her faith experience. First Holy Communion is usually celebrated by children who are either 7 or 8 years old. First Holy Communion is received after the child has taken part in the sacraments of Baptism and Reconciliation.
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Prepare your child for the Eucharist by leading through example and bringing your child to Mass regularly with you. First Holy Communion is your child's first acceptance of her faith in the Catholic Church, so it is very important that she understands the importance of the ceremony and the meaning behind it. Your child should also attend catechism classes, where she will learn about the sacrament as the actual body of Christ.
Study the program requirements that your child must meet before he can complete his First Holy Communion. These requirements vary from diocese to diocese. Most preparation programs last between six months to a year. These programs will teach your child about the body of Christ, the meaning behind it and prepare him for the actual ceremony.Your child must have been baptised and complete the sacrament of Penance before he receives Holy Communion for the first time.
Make sure your child recognises the significance of the sacrament and her participation in it. Receiving the body and blood of Christ is one of the most pivotal rituals in the Catholic Church. Ask your child questions to determine if she understands the sacrament of the Eucharist before she receives her First Holy Communion. How do you treat the Eucharist with reverence? Explain the meaning of Jesus sacrificing his life for us? Do you realise that the Eucharist is the actual body of Christ? Why do you fast before receiving Communion?
Buy an appropriate outfit for your child's First Communion. Boys wear suits and girls wear white First Communion dresses with veils. The dresses should abide to the requirements for modesty in the Catholic Church.
Tips and warnings
- Keep in mind that if the church for your child's First Holy Communion is different from the one he was baptised in, you will need to provide a copy of her birth and baptism certificate to the new church.
- Keep in mind that parties are usually thrown afterwards to celebrate the occasion. Give gifts which signify the child's acceptance of the Catholic Church. These gifts are usually prayer books, rosaries, and bibles.
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