"Jesus said to the crowd: 'I am the living bread which has come down from heaven. Anyone who eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is my flesh, for the life of the world.'" John 6:51
"When Mass is being celebrated, the Sanctuary is filled with countless Angels, who adore the Divine Victim immolated on the altar."
"He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day." John 6:54
"The Eucharist is
"The Sacraments... celebrate the coming of the Spirit as special moments in the life of the community of faith and its members, and express the Church's faith and interaction with Christ."
"[Jesus] took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, 'This is my body,
which will be given for you; do this in memory of me.'" Luke 22:19
When your child receives Jesus in the Eucharist for the first time, it is an event of great joy for your family and for the whole Christian community. During each Mass, the bread and wine are truly transformed into Jesus' body and blood. This mystery was instituted by Jesus himself, when he was in the company of his apostles. Giving himself to us was God's way of showing his intimate love for us. God found a way of staying with us all the time, through Jesus in the Holy Eucharist. This is why receiving the Eucharist is a "Sacrament".
The Eucharist is the sacrament that is at the heart of our faith and the center of Christian life. It gathers the community, gives us our Christian identity, and prepares us for mission. The Eucharist is, by its very nature, communal. It nourishes and strengthens the whole community and indeed makes us "Church and Body of Christ for the world". The Eucharist is a magnificent blessing, grace, gift, and mystery that even great saints have found quite difficult to comprehend. Parents and catechists should teach our children to never take it for granted - the reception of Holy Communion.
Parish children are prepared for their First Reconciliation and Eucharist during 1st and 2nd grade religion classes in the school and the religious education program. Children are required to attend both years in order to be fully ready to receive the Sacraments. This is a special time for children and their families, bringing much excitement as they learn their prayers and become spiritually aware. A separate program is available for children in grade 3 or higher who have not yet celebrated these sacraments (see RCIC).
Our children are prepared during the first part of the school year (October to December) for the sacrament of Reconcilation. After First Reconciliation, the children are prepared from January through April for the sacrament of Eucharist. During this time, parents and guardians must attend two parent-and-child meetings to discuss the Sacrament and to guide them as they assist their children with this exciting time in their faith. Families receive a special six-lesson book that will be completed at home. First Eucharist is usually celebrated in late April or early May each year.
"Parents are the first and foremost teachers of their children. They teach informally but powerfully by example and instruction. They communicate values and attitudes by showing love for Christ and His church and for each other, by reverently receiving the Eucharist and living in its spirit, and by fostering justice and love in all their relationships. It is the parents' nurturing of faith in their children that shows them the richness and beauty of lived faith." (Sharing the Light of Faith #212)
"Preparing children to share fully in an event of such importance calls for our best efforts, and parents have a right and duty to be intimately involved in preparing their children for First Communion." (Sharing the Light of Faith, #122). Our parish sacramental materials are family-based, and this allows parents and guardians to teach and share their own experiences of the sacraments with their children. At your child's baptism, you promised to accept the responsibility of training him or her in the practice of the faith and to teach your child to keep God's commandments as Christ taught us by loving God and our neighbors. This is why we pray that you will take an important, active role in preparing your children for First Eucharist. The time spent in teaching your children about our faith will touch their hearts forever.
When you and your child are about to receive Holy Communion, your strong belief that you are receiving Jesus' body takes you to a state of grace. Words cannot explain the joy you feel. Imagine the King of kings, the one who loves you most, is visiting your home! How would you prepare for this visit? What excitement will you feel? How honored will you be to have this special guest? Do you feel the same way when you prepare to receive Jesus through Holy Communion? Your child will probably take the same attitude towards Holy Communion that you do. If you receive the sacrament in a "wishy-washy" way, your child will likely do the same and will not be in a state of grace. But if you receive Jesus fully conscious and with all of your love and faith, your child will follow your example, and both of you will experience the miracle within. Guiding your children in faith, watching them grow and develop, and helping along the way are part of the great joys of Christian parenting!
The sacrament of Eucharist is not meant to be celebrated once, but over and over again for a lifetime! The Eucharist is a sacrament that we can receive every day after our First Holy Communion. First Communion continues your child's initiation into God's family, but this is not the end of the road - it is only the beginning. To keep us fed, strengthened, and nourished for God's special mission, God invites all of us to Mass each Sunday - children and adults - to play a special part in the Eucharist. Parents often find that they are learning (or remembering) as much about this marvelous sacrament as their children are, and this helps them rediscover a love for its nourishing grace as they return to a habit of regular and frequent Mass attendance and reception of Holy Communion.
• Sharing the Light of Faith: National Catechetical Directory for Catholics of the United States