First Communion

"The Eucharist is at the heart of 'Christian Initiation,' together with Baptism and Confirmation, and it constitutes the source of the Church's life itself.  From this Sacrament of love, in fact, flows every authentic journey of faith, of communion, and of witness. Pope Francis has called it the "Sacrament of Love:"

"The administration of the Most Holy Eucharist to children requires that they have sufficient knowledge and careful preparation so that they understand the mystery of Christ according to their capacity and are able to receive the body of Christ with faith and devotion."                             (Code of Canon Law, 913 §1).

"It is primarily the duty of parents and those who take the place of parents, as well as the duty of pastors, to take care that children who have reached the use of reason are prepared properly and, after they have made sacramental confession, are refreshed with this divine food as soon as possible. It is for the pastor to exercise vigilance so that children who have not attained the use of reason or whom he judges are not sufficiently disposed do not approach holy communion" (Code of Canon Law, 914).

For more information about the Eucharist please click here.

 

The First Holy Communion program is based on the guidelines provided by the Diocese of Monterey Catechetical Ministry. This is a two-year program and a student must be in the second grade before receiving the sacrament. 

 

First Communion Year 1

In the first year, the children will learn about the Sacrament of Reconciliation, also known as Penance or Confession.  Topics include the Ten Commandments, Examination of Conscience, Penance and Absolution, and Morality.  Reconciliation will be celebrated during Lent.  The children will learn the following prayers: Sign of the Cross, Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be, and the Act of Contrition and other prayers.

 

Registration starts on June till August

Registration fee: $50.00

Late registration: $65.00

Classes runs from September to May

First Communion Year 2

In the second year, the children will learn about the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist (Communion).  They will learn about the true presence of Jesus in the Eucharist as well as how to receive.  Topics include Baptismal Promises, the Penitential Rite, the Mass as Sacrifice, the Last Supper, The Communion Rite, and the Mission of the Church.  The importance of attending weekly Sunday Mass becomes more evident at this time.

 

Before the First Eucharist liturgy, parents and children will attend a Parent/Child Eucharist Retreat.  This retreat provides a day of prayer and reflection.  Retreats are a great way to remove ourselves from the busyness of life and focus on our relationship with God and the Lord’s presence in our lives.  With open hearts, parents and children will be spiritually prepared to receive the Lord in the Eucharist at the First Eucharist Liturgy.

 

Registration starts on June till August

Registration fee: $50.00

Late registration: $65.00

Classes runs from September to May

 

Pre-requisites for enrollment

Children should have reached the ‘age of reason’, or around the age of 7. It is diocesan policy that preparation for First Holy Communion should generally take place in School Year 2. (the year in which the child turns 8 years old).

Children should be baptized Catholics and have a copy of their baptism certificate. (Children of the age of reason who are not baptized will need an extended period of baptismal preparation, not just a one-off class.)

Parents or guardians should be able to commit:

  • to their children attending all the scheduled First Holy Communion classes;
  • to the family attending Sunday Mass every week;
  • to themselves attending a minimum of two separate sessions of parental catechesis.

What the class needs to teach (Guidelines)

A child is ready to receive First Holy Communion when the pastor, assisted by the catechist, has discerned that the child according to his/her capacity:

  1. Participates actively* and consciously in Sunday Mass on a regular basis.
  2. Understands that the Holy Eucharist is truly the Body and Blood of Christ under the appearance of bread and wine.
  3. Understands that the Eucharist is the memorial of Christ’s sacrifice for our salvation, and a commemoration of Christ's last meal with his disciples.
  4. Understands that after receiving First Communion, they are now full members of the Body of Christ, and now share in His table and in the community of their brothers and sisters in Christ.
  5. Has been prepared for and received First Confession (the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation) prior to First Communion.
  6. Is capable of receiving the Body and Blood of Christ in an informed and reverent manner; and understands the significance of receiving the Eucharist under both species of bread and wine - including the fuller form of Holy Communion when distributed under both kinds, and the freedom of the child to receive the Host alone, Christ being fully present under either species.

*The phrase ‘active participation’ was coined by Pope St Pius X, who defined it as follows: “If you wish to participate in the Mass actively, you must follow with your eye, heart and mouth all that happens on the altar. Further, you must pray with the Priest the holy words said by him in the Name of Christ and which Christ says by him. You have to associate your heart with the holy feelings which are contained in these words and in this manner you ought to follow all that happens at the altar.’


Course Materials

There are a variety of First Holy Communion courses available. No one course is complete and self-sufficient; different parishes will have different needs, and the catechists will have different experiences of what works best. Whichever course is chosen will need to be adapted and supplemented to ensure that the six key points of the guidelines outlined above are met; and to ensure that children are properly prepared for first Confession, have experience of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and are introduced to the Saints and Catholic culture.

Requirements:

  • Must attend 2 years of Religious Education prior to receiving First Holy Communion
  • Valid Catholic Baptismal Certificate
  • Parish Information Form
  • Regular attendance (80% attendance in class) and full participation in the prescribed course of study for First Holy Communion preparation
  • All class work missed must be made up
  • Must attend Mass on a regular basis (Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation)
  • Readiness for First Holy Communion ascertained by Pastor, Catechist, and Parents based on:
    • Class conduct, punctuality, respectfulness, interview with priest and/or person appointed
    • Attitude toward Christian service
  • Willingness to attend liturgical events and other First Holy Communion-related activities outside regular classroom times