FIRST HOLY COMMUNION
The Sacrament of Holy Communion, is the second sacrament of initiation and one of the sacraments that we can receive repeatedly, even daily. In Holy Communion, we receive the Body and Blood of Christ, which unite us more closely to Him and helps us to grow in grace by living a more Christian life.
In Holy Communion, we are eating the True Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, without which "you shall not have life in you" (John 6:53). Through the Holy Eucharist or Holy Communion we, the members of the Church become one with Jesus Christ and partake in His Sacrifice on the Cross through the Mass offered by the priest. Receiving Holy Communion worthily brings us graces that affect us both spiritually and physically. Spiritually, our souls become more united to Christ, both through the graces we receive and through the change in our actions that those graces effect. Frequent Communion increases our love for God and for our neighbour, which expresses itself in action and makes us more like Christ.
Primary importance for a child's religious formation is the parents' good example. It is recommended that the family should attend Sunday Mass together as far as possible.
Other contributory factors in the child's religious formation are praying together as a family, reading the Bible with the child, blessing the child every day, and the like.
During the Diwali vacation extra classes will be held. The date and timing of the classes will be informed well in advance.
PREPARING FOR THE SACRAMENT OF HOLY COMMUNION
Because of the intimate and close connection of the Sacrament of Holy Communion to our life in Christ, we must be free of any grave or mortal sin before receiving it, as St. Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 11:27-29. Otherwise, he warns, we receive the sacrament unworthily, and we "eateth and drinketh damnation" to ourselves. If we are aware of having committed a mortal sin, we must participate in the Sacrament of Confession first. The Church sees these two sacraments as connected, and urges us to always frequent Confession and Holy Communion.
The Sacrament of the First Reconciliation or Confession is celebrated a few days before the First Holy Communion. An appropriate day and time are fixed for the sacrament.
There is a written test conducted by the catechists to assess the child's understanding of the FHC Sacrament and other religious teachings. Those children who have not fared well in the tests will be given a re-test. Children with special needs will be given special consideration.
Dress for the First Communicants should be graceful, smart and preferably white. The dress should not be strapless, sleeveless or short. It should also not be very showy as for a fashion parade. Here a word for our female parishioners. At all times while in church and especially at Mass strapless, spaghetti straps, very fitting, sleeveless or very short dresses are not to be worn. These are signs of disrespect in the House of God. If required a shawl or other covering / garment maybe worn as long as one is in the church. These requirements regarding dress are to be observed by both male and female members of the family and guests of the First communicants. Sports shoes should not be used by the First Communicants.
On the FHC day the children will receive communion under both species - the host (bread) and the wine.
Candles carried by the First Communicants will be provided by the Church. After the FHC ceremony the children will be gifted blessed scapulars and rosaries.
Before the ceremony parents are required to attend a meeting when they will be instructed on how to prepare their children for the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Communion.
Kindly note: Purses, gloves, rosaries and other accessories should not be worn during the mass as these distract the children from the solemnity and sacredness of the sacrament. These things can be worn after the mass for photographs, etc.
During the FHC Eucharist a photographer will be provided by the church. No other photographer will be allowed during the service. Individual photographers will be allowed before and after the mass. Similarly, videography is not allowed, unless it can be done from a seated position in the person's assigned pew.
First Holy Communion certificates will be given only to those who are regular till the Sunday School closing day in the last week of February. If the child is absent from the catechism classes after FHC, he/she will not receive the FHC certificate.
The child should normally be in Std. IV or 9 years of age.
A copy of the child's baptismal certificate
The parents must be fully registered parishioners.
A six month's preparation period is conducted for children receiving FHC. The classes are held every Sunday after the Children's mass at 8.30 a.m. with compulsory attendance. If a child misses more than three classes (except in the case of illness) the sacrament may not be administered.
When a person presents himself or herself for Communion, such an action is on the part of the recipient of Communion, a public declaration, among other things, of the following:
The person is a baptized member of the Catholic Church
The person accepts and tries to live the teaching of the Church in matters of faith and morals, and
The person has received sacramental absolution in confession conscious of a serious failure in living out the teaching of the Church. As the "Catechism of the Catholic Church" teaches, "Anyone conscious of a grave sin must receive the sacrament of Reconciliation before coming to Communion" (CCC1385).
Kindly note that those who attend Mass and receive Communion in the morning cannot receive Communion again at an evening mass or a mass said during the day. The laity is allowed to receive Communion again only when participating in a funeral / nuptial mass.