Whilst preparing our son to receive his First Reconciliation we have also been preparing him for the reception of his First Holy Communion which will be a few months following. As I shared before we take this opportunity to prepare our children for the reception of their Sacraments as amongst the most precious responsibilities as Catholic parents entrusted to us.
Preparing a child for his First Holy Communion involves discussion, study and spiritual preparation. Jack Jack is our seventh child to prepare for his First Holy Communion and we have a fairly established program in place now. Sharing here in the hope to help other families in the same situation.
- To believe and understand the Holy Eucharist is Our Lord Himself, His Body and Blood
- To understand we do not see Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist because He is hidden under the appearance of bread and wine
- To understand the host looks like bread, but is the Body of Jesus
- To understand the chalice looks and tastes like wine, but it is the Blood of Jesus
- To understand Our Lord comes to be Food and Drink for our souls, to help us, to make our souls strong
- To understand we are receiving sanctifying Grace when we receive Jesus in the Eucharist.
- To know what sanctifying Grace is
- To understand Jesus becomes present in the Holy Eucharist during the Sacrifice of the Mass
- To understand that during Mass, we, through the priest offer bread and wine, we give our hearts to God
- To understand the priest changes the bread and wine, they become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.
- To understand that when the priest offers the bread and wine to God, this tells God we love Him
- To understand the Mass is an act of love
- To understand Jesus offers Himself as He did on the Cross
- To understand we also offer ourselves with Jesus and that we are willing to suffer with Him
- To know that the Gift of Jesus on the Cross pleased the Father, so the Father raised Jesus from the dead.
- To understand our Gift at Mass pleases the Father too, so the Father will raise us with Jesus, some day we will all be together in heaven.
- To understand the need for fasting prior to receiving Holy Communion
- To understand the need to be in a state of Grace to receive Holy Communion
- To know what the terms Transubstantiation and Consecration mean
- To know the History of the Mass, the story of the Last Supper and the Passion and Death of Our Lord
- To know the Order of the Mass
- To know many of the terms and Sacramentals used in the Mass, eg Altar, Chalice, Tabernacle etc
- To know the Mass Responses
- To practice and know what to do before the reception of Holy Communion (Think of Jesus, Say a prayer, Ask Jesus to come to me)
- To practice and know how to approach the altar to receive Our Lord, to know what to do upon returning to your pew
- To know what to do after receiving Holy Communion (Thank Jesus for coming to me, Tell Jesus how much I love him, Tell Jesus I am sorry for any of my sins, Ask Him to continue to help me, Pray for my family and others)
- To know the Seven Sacraments
- To know the 10 Commandments
Prayers to Know:
- Prayer to the Guardian Angel
- Morning Offering
- The Apostles Creed
- Prayer Before Communion
MY JESUS, I need You.
It is hard for me to be good.
Come to make my soul strong.
Give my soul its Food and Drink.
Let me grow in Love for you.
- Prayer After Communion
MY JESUS, I love You.
Stay with me always.
I need Your help to be good.
Change what is bad in me.
Make me do my best to be just like You.
Prayers to Review:
- Sign of the Cross
- Our Father
- Hail Mary
- Glory Be
- Act of Contrition
– Story of when
– Stories the Last Supper and The Passion, Death and Resurrection of Our Lord.
Both Children’s Bibles are excellent. Interestingly my childhood copy of the Golden Bible says, ‘Catholic Children’s’ which is the exact same copy as the Golden Children’s Bible. We can’t chose between the two, so we use both.
St Joseph First Communion Catechism
We use this gem for First Confession and First Holy Communion. Completely solid and thorough. Creation, Fall, Redemption and the Sacraments. The question/answer format is extremely helpful to be certain the child understands.
My Holy Communion – Daniel A. Lord SJ
Another of Fr Lord’s delightful little Gloria Books, written to a child’s level but solidly jammed packed. . A gem!
My Jesus and I – Aloysius Heeg
Text is thorough but easily understood, each chapter concludes with three sets of questions. One corresponding to the chapter, one to the Baltimore Catechsim and one review. Solid. Read Margaret’s review for further info.
Ten Eager Hearts – Sister of Notre Dame
An OOP gem; each story contains incredibly inspiring stories of children preparing for their FHC and their prayers to Jesus after their first reception. Definitely on our list to read.
The author also wrote ‘True Stories for First Communicants’ and ‘First Communion Days’ republished by Neumann Press.
First Communion Days – Sister of Notre Dame
This gem by the Sisters of Notre Dame, is very similar in style to Ten Eager Hearts, beautiful, inspirational stories of children who love Jesus very much and long to receive Him.
Patron Saint of First Communicants: The Story of Blessed Imelda Lambertini – Mary Fabyan Windeatt
Only a slim volume, but so inspiring. Imelda’s love of Our Blessed Lord and her desire to receive Him in the Blessed Sacrament shines throughout. This is a must read for us, I have read it to each of our children as they prepare for their First Holy Communion.
First Holy Communion for Little Catholics – Fr Demetrius Manousos
A beautiful little book published by Guild Press in the 1950s. Solid teaching, written for a child to easily understand.
Eucharistic Adoration Coloring Book – Katherine Sotnik
Beautiful illustrations; symbols of the Eucharist, vessels of the liturgy, images of saints with Eucharistic devotion. Only a new find, looking forward to using it.
Books focusing on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, really kindle the First Communicant’s understanding and longing to receive Our Lord.
The Weight of the Mass – Josephine Nobisso
A shabby, penniless old woman enters the baker’s shop as he is preparing luscious creations for the king’s wedding, which is about to take place in the city cathedral. Few are expected to attend, as the populace has grown cold and neglectful about their faith. When the baker refuses to give the old woman even a crust of stale bread, she offers to say a Mass for him, in exchange for food. Scoffing, he writes “One Mass” on a tiny piece of paper, places it on his scale, and tries to overbalance it with heaps of his finest pastries, but to no avail. The Mass outweighs them all. Inspired by a real story, lovely watercolours. Picture book. A true treasure.
The Mass Book for Children – Rosemarie Gortler & Donna Piscitelli
Teaches children not only the parts of the Mass but explains how Mass is an experience of love. We really love how this book is written, although a new publication it is solid and clear.
Little Acts of Grace – Rosemarie Gortler & Donna Piscitelli
Explains Catholic devotions and kindles a desire to do them. We’ve really become Gortler/Piscitelli fans. Not only do many pages focus on the Eucharist but this book is a lovely spiritual preparation for First Holy Communion.
The Mass Explained to Children – Maria Montessori
Although written for slightly older children, reading selected areas is a wonderful way to kindle a love for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and Our Blessed Lord in the Eucharist. A truly incredible book which every Catholic family should have. This book has been the spine for our Unit Study on the Mass.