Importance of First Holy Communion
The First Communion represents an important stage in the spiritual introduction of a child to Christianity. The First Communion is, after baptism, the second step to in the Catholic introduction. So the spiritual preparation of the child for this special day is especially important. In the sacrament, the child meets Jesus for the first time, who actually set the sacrament during the last supper.
The First Communion is a great celebration for the family, which is at the same time an important social event. Due to those reasons, we must take care of the clothes, hair, guest hospitality, gifts etc. which at the same time mustn’t become more important than the spiritual preparation. Most parents leave this step to catechists, who carry out the mission without any selfishness. The receivers of the first communion are well educated about the receiving itself.
Catechists vs. parents
But is the preparation in religious education classrooms enough for a complete understanding of first communion’s meaning? We must be aware that the preparation for the event is primarily the responsibility of the childs’ parents. As parents, we represent the most influential people in our child’s lives and they tend to replicate the attitude of their mother and father towards communion.
First Communion – social and religious event
For most children, the First Communion is an unforgettable experience, that they will remember for the rest of their lives. The parish and the holy mass are carried out with proper celebration of the event. The children receiving the first communion are in the full spotlight. They become the stars. They are more important than everyone else attending the mass. They are admired by their relatives and friends and especially those people, who they don’t usually meet during Sunday’s liturgy.
After receiving the First Communion and after the mass they pose for photographers. First of all a group photo, followed by individual photos. There’s also photographing with their parents, brothers, sisters, other relatives… in all of which the star is the first Communicant. The photography session is followed by congratulations, warm wishes, and gifts.
Holy Communion Preparation – the role of parents
And what after the memories of this beautiful event start fading? And the knowledge from religion classes ceases? The sacrament of Eucharist is not a single-time event, so the preparation and »training« for worthy reception of the holy communion must continue. Here we, as parents, must step in.
Some tips on how to prepare your child for Holy Communion:
- Explain to your child, why you attend the mass.
- Explain, that a person must fast an hour before receiving the holy communion and invite him to fast together. Explain, that with those actions you spiritually and physically prepare for receiving the holy communion – accepting Jesus to your body.
- Before and after the holy communion pray together. That helps the child to better respect the sanctity and the importance of the moment receiving the holy communion.
- After the mass is over, bring your child to the tabernacle and kneel. This gesture teaches the child, that Jesus is present in the holy wafer and is there awaiting the next mass.
- Visit adoration with your child. Don’t worry, that he/she won’t understand it. Children easily believe and accept Jesus’s presence in the Eucharist, so the positively respond to the experience of adoration. Just explain to your child, that you will, for a few minutes, sit in front of a big holy wafer which is a place where real Jesus lives and, that he/she can talk to him about anything, that comes to his mind.
- Regularly perform confessions with your child.
You probably noticed that you don’t need a large amount of theological knowledge. You just need simple words, actions, and examples.
You are invited to share your own tips, suggestions, and experiences on how to carry on religious preparation after receiving the First Communion.