This is the text of the information booklet sent to parents and candidates for First Holy Communion.
INFORMATION FOR PARENTS
A warm welcome to St Edmund’s parish programme of preparation for your child’s First Holy Communion. We are delighted that you have decided to take this step. This booklet will give you some idea of what to expect in the coming months and on the day itself.
WHAT IS FIRST HOLY COMMUNION?
In the Eucharist we receive Christ Himself, and it is essential we prepare carefully, both children and parents.
When a child makes his or her First Holy Communion it is an important milestone in their life as a Christian and as part of the Church family. It is not solely the first time they receive the gift of Christ’s Body and Blood, but the first stage of an initiation as adult Christians and Catholics, and as active members of the parish family.
For this reason First Holy Communion takes place at a parish Mass within the setting of the church family, usually at Corpus Christi, followed by a party for everyone where this event is celebrated by the whole parish.
HOW YOU CAN HELP YOUR CHILD
We ask parents to be involved as fully as possible in their children’s preparation, which starts early in the new year. In the course of the programme there will be two or three group sessions for parents.
It is a wonderful opportunity to discover your own faith in a fresh way, and accompany your child step by step.
To assist your child during preparation we ask that you:
- get involved with the children’s workbook and activities
- attend the two or three group sessions that will be arranged for parents
- support your children by attending Sunday Mass with them regularly (Mass at St Edmund’s follows immediately on from the children’s classes) together
- set an example in receiving the Sacrament
Maybe you could also talk to your child about your own First Communion, if applicable, and share photographs and souvenirs, if you have them.
There will be specially prepared liturgies during the preparation period to help children to feel more at home in church and as part of the parish. Children will help with readings and prayers, be part of the offertory procession, and join in hymns they have practised. Come and take part!
Because this is a big step in their Christian life, we hope children will take their place in the parish community, and gradually learn to take on the responsibilities which come with maturing as Catholics.
Father Charles & Rebecca Clarke
Hello. My name is Rebecca Clarke, and I have the great privilege of preparing children to receive Our Lord in Holy Communion for the first time.
I am married, and we have five children who are currently aged between six and 15. I work part-time at St Edmund’s Catholic Primary School in Bungay.
We follow the programme GOD’S GREATEST GIFT, which is a fun, hands-on process of preparing for First Communion. It is sensitive to the attention span, energy levels and varied interests of young, enquiring minds. It is designed to be an enjoyable and exciting experience for your children, one that will build a firm understanding of Jesus’ immeasurable love for them, one that will set them on a course in life marked by a true commitment to Gospel values.
The book utilises and focuses on the special gifts and talents of family members in initiating their child or brother or sister into the sacrament. You will find that not only is the child preparing for First Communion awakened to the tremendous gift of Jesus in the Eucharist, but also the family will experience a renewed understanding and commitment, seeing Jesus once more themselves through the unclouded eyes of children.
Table of Contents
The Gift of Creation
A very special Gift
The Gift of Baptism
The Gift of God’s Word
The Gift of Friendship
The Gift of Peace
The Gift of Joy
The Greatest Gift
Our Gift to God
WELCOME TO THE CHILDREN – from Father Charles
This is going to be such an important and wonderful year for you, because at your First Holy Communion you will meet Jesus in a very special and unforgettable way. It will be a day you will always remember.
But that day is just the beginning. It is the beginning of your grown-up life as a Catholic Christian. Like the grown–ups you will then be able to go up to Communion, and receive Jesus, and start a special close relationship with Him which will be with you all your life to give you strength, joy and courage.
Because this is so important, we need you to be prepared to meet Jesus in this way. For that, we will meet as a group most Sunday mornings before you go to Mass, to learn about receiving the gift of Jesus, and about the gift of forgiveness.
First Holy Communion is a great family celebration. On that day, together with the one who is making his or her First Holy Communion, the parents, brothers, sisters, relatives, godparents and sometimes also the catechists, and teachers generally receive the Eucharist. The day of First Holy Communion is also a great day of celebration in the parish, and we have a party to mark it with an enormous cake with everyone’s name on it.
After your First Holy Communion we’d love it if you’d play a bigger part in parish life by maybe serving on the altar or sometimes reading or praying at Family Mass, or helping with the offertory procession.
With love and blessings,
FIRST HOLY COMMUNION PRAYER FOR CHILDREN
At the Last Supper your Son Jesus gave Himself to His friends in bread and wine. Now He gives Himself to us in Communion so that we know we are safe in Your love.
Help us to use this wonderful gift of Jesus to become strong as Christians, to share this love with others in all that we do and say, and to take our place in the the Church family as we grow.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord,