During First Communion, a person first receives the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist (the Body and Blood of Christ). The Roman Catholics believe that Jesus Christ is actually present in the elements of the Eucharist, and that once they are blessed and consecrated, they cease to be mere bread and wine and they become Christ. Some other denominations treat Communion as a symbolic meal or a token of remembrance.
Whether it is perceived literally or figuratively, partaking of Holy Communion can bring you closer to Christ and help you focus on His finished work and what His broken Body and shed Blood mean for your life today. His Body was broken so your body could be healthy (Isaiah 53:5; 1 Peter 2:24; 1 Corinthians 11:24). His Blood was shed for forgiveness of sins and to make you the righteousness of God in Christ (Matthew 26:28; John 6:56; Romans 3:25; Ephesians 1:7). He redeemed you from the curse of the law by His shed Blood (Galatians 3:13), so that you could have a life of blessing and abundance (John 10:10).
Roman Catholics believe this event to be very important, as the Eucharist is one of the central focuses of the Catholic Church. First Communion typically takes place around age seven or eight. This is a wonderful age in a child’s life to place the proper importance on regularly receiving Communion and training them as to how this can be an important way to focus on and honor Christ’s sacrifice.
First Communion should first and foremost holy, which simply means “separated unto God”. It should also be a memorable and special occasion that a child can reflect on as an crucial point in their walk of faith. Truly, First Communion is an initiation into one of the Great Mysteries. Parents and godparents are responsible for preparing the child by firmly grounding him/her in basic catechesis.
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First Communion is a notable and festive occasion for Roman Catholic families. Traditions surrounding First Communion usually include large family gatherings and parties to celebrate the event and special clothing is usually worn. The clothing is often white to symbolize purity.
Gifts of a religious nature are usually given. Rosaries are a very popular First Communion gift. Rosaries can be used to guide a child to prayer and fellowship with God. Beads, in fact, have long been a spiritual tool. The Middle English word “bede” means “prayer.” The expression “to bid (or tell) the beads” meant to say one’s prayers.
Other special gifts of religious jewelry, keepsake Bibles and prayer books, and religious statues and icons are also very traditional. They are a wonderful way to convey your support and excitement for this foundational step in the life of faith of a child.