First Communion is an important milestone in a Catholic child’s life as they enter into the wholeness of their Catholic faith by partaking in the Eucharist. But there’s so much to do to get ready, including sending invitations to loved ones, buying the perfect apparel, and selecting the most faith-filled gifts to commemorate it. While, of course, we want to celebrate this blessed event, we must remember that the most important preparation is spiritual.
Here are some simple ways you can help your child appreciate the excitement of their First Communion, while cultivating a deep, abiding love for Jesus and their Catholic faith.
1. Talk to them about why Jesus is important to you.
Explain why you go to mass and take the Holy Sacrament, and how it brings you closer to Him. If you fast before Mass, explain to your child why you do so, advises Kathleen Wellman on CatholicMom.com.
2. Say a prayer with them.
Arrive to mass a few minutes early to pray the Anima Christi, a simple Eucharistic prayer, Kathleen continues. As you leave when mass ends, instead of genuflecting in the aisle, take your child to the tabernacle and genuflect there. This will help bring them closer to the presence of Jesus.
3. Take your child to Holy Thursday mass and Eucharistic Adoration.
This advice comes from the book: Catholic Parent Know How: Preparing Your Child for the First Communion. It will be an opportunity for children to learn about the Last Supper, and is yet another place where children can draw closer to Jesus.
4. Read the book, First Communion, by Mother Mary Loyola, with your child.
Even though this book was first published in 1890, its powerful, easy-to-understand message has been making the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist even more meaningful to children for generations.
5. Explain the Eucharist in terms that are easy for a child to understand.
This suggestion comes from Beliefnet. Relate the Holy Sacrament to their lives. For instance, discuss:
- The “spiritual food” they will receive through the ritual meal of bread and wine. Just as food nourishes the body, Jesus nourishes our soul through the Eucharist.
- The friendship of Jesus - just as we love our friends, Jesus loves us. Through the Eucharist, He made it possible for us to be with Him (John 15:15).
- The gift of Jesus’s sacrifice. Jesus’s crucifixion was the ultimate sacrifice of His body and blood for our salvation. In the Eucharist, we partake in bread and wine which represents this sacrifice. It unites us with Him and His profound love for us.
- What it means to honor Jesus. Just as we celebrate special events, the Eucharist celebrates the most important event ever by allowing us to gather, remember and honor His death and resurrection.
Join Them on Their Journey
Your child looks up to you. While they will certainly get excellent education through your church and Sunday school, your example and guidance will set a solid, unwavering foundation for their faith.
We hope this blog post gives you a good starting point for preparing your children spiritually for the First Communion. Feel free to check out all of our resources that can help you grow their faith, and yours, including, books, DVDs, and more.