Along with the Sacrament of Baptism and Confirmation, Holy Communion is one of the Catholic Church’s three Sacraments of Initiation. It is through the Sacraments of Initiation that we become full members of the Church. We receive the Holy Eucharist for the first time during the 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 (which is truly 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.
One’s First Holy Communion is considered one of the holiest and most important occasions in a Catholic person’s life. Most Catholic children receive their First Holy Communion when they are 7 or 8 years old as this is considered the age of reason. 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 refer to The Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) for further information and contact the parish office.
If your child is approaching second grade, or a little older; we want to assist you in raising your child in the faith. Below are some of the frequently asked questions to help you understand the process of having your child receive First Holy Communion.
Sacraments 201: Eucharist (what we believe)
At a minimum, your child must:
- Be baptized in the Catholic Church, or another Christian denomination recognized by the Catholic Church. Basically, they must have been baptized with water and “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” If your son or daughter, was baptized in another Christian faith, they will then need to be received into the Catholic Church.
- If your child is older than second grade, we may require completion of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Children (RCIC).
- Have received the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Instruction for this sacrament will take place before instruction for First Holy Communion. The reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation will take place a few months before First Holy Communion.
All Catholic children, even if they are not attending Catholic schools, are welcome to participate in our parish program if their parents worship here at St. Joseph’s Parish. The instruction for both First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion typically takes place during the school year schedule for both the Catholic school and public school children in second grade.
The parents, with help from the program coordinators, prepare their child for First Holy Communion. Please contact the parish office to register your child for the Parish Catechesis program if they attend public, private or home school. This program begins in the Fall and ends in the Easter Season. Students cannot be enrolled midway and so kindly reach out to the office to register your son/daughter for the upcoming Fall Sacramental preparation program.
First Communion Masses take place during the Easter season and take place on Sunday afternoons. Please note that this schedule changes every year. Contact the office for information on when the dates are for this year.
Traditionally, 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.
At your child’s Baptism, you reaffirmed your belief in the Catholic Church and promised to raise your child in the Catholic faith. This is what the Church calls our “founded hope” that your child will be raised in the Catholic faith. Today, if this “founded hope” is in jeopardy because your faith as a parent has changed and you no longer believe in the Catholic Church, or you attend another Christian Church, or for whatever reason you are not willing to ensure that your child will have opportunities to learn the faith and attend Sunday Mass, there may be reason to delay First Holy Communion. These are serious issues and will need the pastor’s determination to proceed. If you are in a similar situation, please contact a priest early to discuss your options.