Eucharist (Communion) is one of the Seven Sacraments of the Catholic Church. This sacrament of initiation is unique in that unlike Baptism and Confirmation, which are only received once, the Eucharist can be received each time we go to Mass.
The videos below should answer questions you may have about First Communion for your child.
Registration for the preparation program is in September. Letters are sent home with children in our family of Catholic schools, who are of the age to receive the Sacrament, those in Grade 2 and Grade 3. Announcements are made after all the Masses, and information is posted on our website, beginning in August, to remind parents of the upcoming registration. If the registration deadline is missed, your child will be able to receive the Sacrament the following year.
What is The Holy Eucharist?
The Holy Eucharist is the source and summit of our Catholic Life. In the Holy Eucharist, under the appearances of bread and wine, the Lord Christ is contained, offered, and received. The word "Eucharist" means "Thanksgiving." When the priest gathers us together to celebrate the Eucharist, he will be bring Jesus to us when we receive Communion.
This sacrament is the source of great graces that sanctify us and help us grow in the likeness of Jesus Christ. Catholics believe the Eucharist is both a sacrifice and a meal. We believe in the real presence of Jesus, who died for our sins. As we receive Christ's Body and Blood, we also are nourished spiritually and brought closer to God.
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
The Eucharist is "the source and summit of the Christian life." The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch." (CCC, 1364)
Who Can Receive Communion?
1) Be a baptized Catholic
Non-Catholics can come to Mass; they can marry a Catholic and raise their children in the Catholic faith, but they cannot receive Holy Communion in the Catholic Church until they become Catholic. They must be in union, through Baptism, to receive Holy Communion.
2) Be in the state of grace
A Catholic must be in a state of grace to receive Holy Communion and anyone aware of being in a state of serious sin must first receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation
3) Be a practicing Catholic
Catholics who don’t follow the Church’s laws on divorce and remarriage, or who reject Church teaching, such as the inherent evil of abortion, shouldn’t come forward to receive Communion because they’re no longer in communion. This prohibition is not a judgment on their moral or spiritual state because only God can know that. But receiving Holy Communion is a public act, and therefore, requiring those who do so, must be united with all that the Church teaches and commands.
What is First Communion?
In celebrating First Communion, we are celebrating the first time a child is receiving our Lord in the Eucharist. For children who are preparing to receive their First Holy Communion, this is a big deal. And for all of us, no matter how many times we have received Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist, it should always be a big deal.
While a child’s first Communion is indeed a cause for celebration and should be beautiful and memorable, the true focus of that holy and special day must remain the sacrament itself as the little ones are welcomed to the table of the Lord.
Our Catholic schools do what they can to prepare our children for the Sacraments of First Communion, Reconciliation, and Confirmation. This preparation is called the Remote Preparation program. Each parish decides how they are going to add to that, which we call the Immediate Preparation program. We place a lot of importance on the immediate preparation program, because we want to ensure that you and your children fully understand what is being received in the Sacrament.
We hope that during the immediate preparation program, you and your children will benefit from and be spiritually enriched through the process. Through God’s grace, we trust that you will be able to come closer to Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church that He has founded.
Why must I submit a Baptism certificate?
Only someone who is baptised Roman Catholic or who has been received into the Roman Catholic Church may receive the Eucharist. The parish is responsible for verifying this by collecting Baptism Certificates or Certificates of Reception from the parents of the children preparing for First Communion
Who is a Parishioner
Each Catholic parish has geographical boundaries. The Pastor of the parish is responsible for the souls within that boundary, whether they attend Mass or not. You are automatically a parishioner if you live within the boundaries. That is the parish where you can request the Sacraments – Baptism, First Communion, Confirmation, Marriage and Funeral.
You can also be a parishioner if you are outside of the boundaries but you have made St Mary’s the parish where you come for Mass every Sunday. You are a parishioner by participation.
What does it mean to ‘register’ at a Parish?
When you complete a Registration Form, provided by the parish office, you are registered as a Parishioner.
Why should I register as a Parishioner?
The process of registration provides the parish with your contact information. It also allows the administration staff to provide an annual tax receipt of your charitable donations.
Do I just register myself or my whole family?
If your whole family in your household participates in Mass with you, it is a good idea to add all their names. If your spouse is not Catholic, or does not attend Mass, and if some of your children no longer attend Mass, you may decide not to include them in your registration.
How do I register as a Parishioner?
You can e-mail the Parish office at firstname.lastname@example.org and a staff member will forward you a Registration form, which you can then e-mail back.