The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life. Each time we receive Jesus in the Eucharist, it is an expression of our intimate union with the Lord. In Communion we share in the life and work of Christ. This meal unites us with every other believer around the table. As we receive the Body and Blood of Christ, we are empowered to bring some share of His life to all we meet.
Along with the Sacrament of Baptism, First Holy Communion is one of our three sacraments of initiation. It is through these sacraments of initiation that we become full members of the Church. We receive the Holy Eucharist for the first time during First Holy Communion. The Holy Eucharist refers to Christ’s body, blood, soul, and divinity that are truly present in the consecrated host and wine (the Body and Blood of Christ) on the altar. For us as Catholics, there is nothing greater than to receive Jesus, truly present in the Eucharist at Mass.
First Holy Communion is considered one of the holiest and most important occasions in a Roman Catholic person’s life. It is the first time that a person receives the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist, which is the eating of consecrated bread. Most Catholic children receive their First Holy Communion when they are 7 or 8 years old as this is considered the age of reason.
Young Catholic children will make their first confession, also called the Sacrament of Reconciliation, before receiving their First Holy Communion. But confession is not the only requirement for receiving the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist; the Sacrament of Baptism must have been received as well. A child, or any person, who has not been baptized cannot receive communion.
Older people can receive communion for the first time when they have met all of the Catholic Church’s requirements. If you are an adult, 18 years or older, who is seeking more information on how to become a member of the Catholic Church, or if you are a baptized Catholic and have never received First Holy Communion, please contact the parish office for information on The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA).
If your child is approaching second grade, or a little older, and in public school: Church policy requires that the Sacraments be performed in the parish you are registered in and attend regularly. If you are not registered in a particular parish, then you are to approach the parish located closest to you geographically. At St. Mary's, you must be a registered, regularly attending parishioner for a minimum of 6 months. For details regarding further requirements and preparation, please contact the parish office.