THE SACRAMENT OF HOLY EUCHARIST
In addition to the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation, the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist is one of our three sacraments of initiation. It is through these sacraments of initiation that we become full members of the Church. It is during First Holy Communion that we receive the Holy Eucharist for the first time. The Holy Eucharist refers to Christ’s body, blood, soul, and divinity truly present in the consecrated host and wine (at consecration the bread and wine become 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. We extend a special greeting if you are gathering information about First Holy Communion for your child.
What is necessary for your child to celebrate First Eucharist?
At a minimum, your child must:
• Have been baptized in the Catholic Church, or if baptized in another Christian denomination, have made a profession of faith in the Catholic Church. All candidates for First Eucharist must have been baptized with water through the pouring of water or full immersion and with the words “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
• Have received at least one year of religious education instruction before second grade. i.e. Grade 1 in a Catholic school in Lancaster, PA or in our parish religious education program. Older children who have not received First Eucharist also need to complete two full years of religious instruction before receiving the Sacrament. Classes for older children will be scheduled if there is a need.
• Have received the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Instruction for this sacrament normally takes place in the same year as the preparation for, and celebration, of First Eucharist.
Required components of First Eucharist reception include:
- 1 Mandatory parent meeting for First Eucharist
- 1 Mandatory retreat day for children for First Eucharist
- 1 Mandatory rehearsal for the group celebration of First Eucharist
Attire for First Eucharist:
- Girls- white dress, white shoes (white headpiece is customary, but optional)
- Boys- dress shirt, tie, dress slacks (dark suit is customary, but optional)
Parents can also help their children prepare for the sacraments by:
Regular attendance at Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation;
- Praying together as a family: grace before meals, morning and night prayers, etc.
- Participating together in the life of the church and parish
- Serving as an example by living faithfully as a Catholic in everyday life.
Mass and Prayer
Hopefully, this overview helps familiarize you with our parish RE Program, how we function, and what we offer your child. We always stress the importance and requirement of Sunday Mass. Also, above all the rules, requirements, and expectations, is your child’s relationship with God. That relationship will sustain him/her and support him/her much longer than the time your child is in our care. Be sure to pray with your child and be a model of loving forgiveness and kindness, and we will do the same! God bless you. May you find in St. Philip’s parish and Religious Education Program a community of faith, hope, and love which serves you as together we serve others in the name of Jesus.