Preparing your child for first communion
- Make mealtimes special.
Just as the Eucharist is at the heart of the life of the Church, family meals are the heart of your home, the ‘Domestic Church’. In the lead up to the First Communion Day, use your family meals as an opportunity to share memories of your own First Communion or ask your child what they are learning in their preparation classes.
- Pray for your child.
Especially at Grace before meals. Place their photo in your family prayer space or on the fridge to remind you. Invite their Godparents to pray also.
- Prayer Space.
Put symbols of the Eucharist in your family prayer space, like wheat, grapes, or picture of the Last Supper.
- Shop for a special outfit.
The tradition of a white dress and veil for girls or suit for boys comes from the theological links between the Eucharist and the heavenly wedding feast.
- Organise a godparent date.
It takes a village to raise a child and this is a perfect opportunity for godparents to participate concretely in their godchild’s faith journey.
First Communion is a big deal. This is the first time your child will enter fully into the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, physically and spiritually. So here are some ideas to specially mark the day.
- Throw a Party!
It doesn’t have to be an elaborate or expensive affair but make a cake, invite family, friends and godparents and spend an afternoon celebrating. After all, this is a ‘wedding’ which is never complete without a feast!
- The gift that gives life.
Expensive toys or treats are not really in the spirit of this event. Rather, give gifts that encourage your child’s faith life, choose like a missal, an adult’s bible (for future use), rosary beads, religious jewellery such as a crucifix or miraculous medal, books about the lives of the saints, a cross, crucifix or artwork for their room.
The day after…
Many parishes don’t offer First Communion under both species. If this is the case in your parish, as soon as possible after First Communion Day, take your child to a Mass where they can experience receiving both the Body and the Blood of Jesus. In fact, the weeks following First Communion is a time of deep receptivity for your child when he/she will be open to going to weekday Mass… so make the most of it.
You can’t give what you don’t have… So Here are some additional resources to deepen your own understanding of the Eucharist and equip you to introduce your children to their Lord:
Pope Francis to Parents: Importance of the Eucharist, watch it
Fr Robert Barron: Why can’t Non-Catholics receive the Eucharist, watch it
CathFamily: Prayer on the Run, read on
Christopher West, God, Sex and the Meaning of Life (we promise this is relevant!) listen
St Pope John Paul II: Man and Woman he created them – A Theology of the Body
Not for the faint-hearted, this large tome is totally worth it. St Pope John Paul II with profound insight draws out the divine plan for the human body and the incarnation, read on
Our children’s sacramental preparation is a wonderful opportunity to go deeper with our own faith and understanding. It is also an excellent time to let the kids lead. Children are naturally spiritual and very deeply so. The key to raising your kids with a deep, rich and healthy faith is to help them transition to an adult understanding of their faith whilst maintaining that natural, childlike spirituality and faith in the Heavenly Father.
So don’t let such an excellent opportunity get lost in the hustle and bustle of everyday life! These are precious moments that will stay with us for our lifetime and beyond. We aren’t just setting our kids up for their natural life; we are preparing them for eternity! Let’s make it count.
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