Early Preparations for First Communion

Our oldest daughter is in second grade this year at our parish school. That means that this year she is preparing for her First Holy Communion. Neither my husband nor I was raised in the Catholic church. When I came into the church after college, I received my first communion and confirmation together at the Easter Vigil service. So, this is an unfamiliar process for us.

My husband and I both take the spiritual formation of our children very seriously. We want to be active participants in this process and encourage our daughter as best we can. Having not gone through First Communion as a seven-year-old, I find that I have trouble anticipating what this year will be like for my daughter. I often ask myself many of the following questions. I would love to hear from parents with experience leading children through the sacraments for the first time, and I would love to hear from you if you made your First Communion as a child, what you remember, good or not-so-great, about your first sacraments.

-What can we be doing as a family to encourage her this year? Already on my list: monthly adoration with my kids, reading my daughter’s new My First Holy Communion book from Magnificat (and answering her questions as they come up), and celebrating all of our liturgical year celebrations as usual as a family.

-Sometimes my daughter seems so young for this sacrament. Did you ever wonder if your child was ready?

-What are your favorite memories from your First Communion Day? How can I make this day special for my daughter? Keep in mind, neither my husband nor I come from Catholic families, yet we want the day to include relatives to the extent they want to participate.

-For parents who have outfitted their children for First Communion Mass, are there ways that I can avoid focus on the clothes and focus more on the importance of the day?

-Did anyone do anything special with their child leading up to the day? I am thinking about a special outing, family dinner, etc to affirm and build anticipation over the day.

We have 6 months to go until this important sacrament. Thanks for helping me prepare early for this important day.

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  • Lisa Mladinich

    I have a couple of quick suggestions:
    For your own enrichment, which will help inspire spontaneous, teachable moments, as well as lesson-planning, there’s a great 5-minute recording about ways the Bible prefigured the Eucharist and then covers the Eucharistic images and miracles of the Old Testament in the miraculous multiplication of loaves and fishes, and finally fulfills the promise and the symbolism of these miracles with the reality of Christ present in the Eucharist. Check out this podcast: http://www.sourceandsummit.cc/?p=194 and listen to the second half of the current episode to hear “Biblical Food Pyramid,” by Christian LeBlanc. If you like Christian’s work, he also writes for my website, AmazingCatechists.com. We have a whole category for Sacramental Preparation, at the site, as well.
    Also, if you’re looking for crafts, check out Lacy Rabideau’s site, http://www.catholicicing.com/ She’s amazing at creating simple, but beautiful crafts that are easy on the budget and which ably illuminate the liturgical year and sacramental life for children.

    I would also do an online search of “homeschool sacramental preparation,” since homeschoolers tend to take their role as first teachers very seriously and can be incredibly well-informed and creative.

    Last, St. Therese of Lisieux’s account of her first communion is incredibly beautiful and powerful. See Chapter Four of Story of a Soul: http://www.storyofasoul.com/?page_id=7

    Congratulations on this impending sacramental milestone! May your daughter receive her Lord with great joy!

    Blessings in Christ,

    Lisa Mladinich

    Founder, http://AmazingCatechists.com/

  • Queen B

    Lisa, this is fantastic. Thanks for the great suggestions.

  • buildingcathedralstexasmommy

    Two things we also love: reading Imelda: Patron Saint of First Communicants (http://www.holyheroes.com/Imelda-Patron-Saint-of-First-Communicants-p/saint4.htm) together, and making a first communion banner (http://www.holyheroes.com/Imelda-Patron-Saint-of-First-Communicants-p/saint4.htm) during which we talk about the symbols together and it is a special keepsake.

  • Queen B

    Tex, thank you so much. I hadn’t seen either of these resources, but I also love Holy Heroes!