In the celebration of Eucharist, the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ.
In the early Church, the hallmark of being a Christian was to gather with other believers on the Lord’s Day to celebrate the Breaking of the Bread. It is the same today: we gather as a community on Sunday to celebrate the Eucharist.
The Mass is central to the life of the Catholic Church. The Mass has two parts of equal importance:
- The Liturgy of the Word, which consists of readings, the homily and the prayer of the faithful.
- The Liturgy of the Eucharist, in which we do as Christ commanded us at the last Supper.
At Mass, we are nourished by the Word of God and by the Body and Blood of Christ.
The purpose of the Mass is to give thanks and praise to God for the greatest gift of all, the gift of our salvation through the death of God’s son on the cross.
When we celebrate Mass we hear the story of our faith, so that we will not forget it. Our story is told in the readings from scripture, in the homily, in the words of the Creed and in the Eucharistic Prayer, which always includes the words and actions of Christ at supper with his disciples on the night before his suffering and death. As we hear again of these past events, the Holy Spirit brings them into the present, so that we become part of the story and participate in it.
When we listen to the Word of God, we hear what it is that God demands of us today and how Jesus has shown us the way. We are called to commit ourselves to God’s vision by living out what we have heard in our daily lives.
In the celebration of Eucharist, the bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Christ. Those who share the Body and Blood of Christ at the Lord’s table become the body of Christ that is sent out to bring the love of Christ to others.
The word ‘communion’ comes from the Greek word ‘koinonia’, meaning fellowship or sharing. When we receive communion at Mass, we are brought into closer relationship with one another, as well as with Christ. Receiving the Body of Christ at Mass calls us to live what we receive and believe, to show that Christ is present in our world through all that we do and say.
First Eucharist/First Communion
Eating and drinking with the rest of the community at the Table of the Lord is a sign of belonging fully to that community.
First Holy Communion, that is, sharing in the body and blood of the Lord at Mass (Eucharist) for the first time, is the climax of the initiation process. Eating and drinking with the rest of the community at the Table of the Lord is a sign of belonging fully to that community.
When and where?
The local parish is where children celebrate Confirmation and First Communion, because the parish is their local community of faith.
Children who are baptised as infants may be considered eligible for first reception of Eucharist from about the age of seven years.
Who prepares the children for First Communion?
It is the duty of parents, parish and school to offer children prayerful and practical help to celebrate the sacraments with proper devotion, and to coach them in the rituals of receiving the sacraments. Catholic schools and parishes conduct sacramental preparation programs that involve at least child and parents and assist parents to do their part in preparing their children.
What do the children wear?
Our way of celebrating the sacraments has changed over the years, as has the accepted style of dress for important occasions. What is appropriate will be influenced by the varying situations, traditions and wishes of the families involved. Matters such as dress will be dealt with at preparation sessions.
Who prepares the children for Eucharist?
It is the duty of parents and the parish to offer children prayerful and practical help to celebrate the sacraments with proper devotion and to form them in the rituals of receiving the sacraments. Parishes work with families to help parents prepare their children to grow in their friendship with Jesus and their connection to the Church community.
What happens if my child is coeliac?
If your child suffers from allergies, speak to the priest or sacramental coordinator. Gluten free and low gluten hosts are available.
What does my child need to wear?
What is appropriate will be influenced by the varying situations, traditions and wishes of the families involved and guided by parish practice. Candidates are encouraged to wear what is age and culturally appropriate for their family.