What is Holy Communion?
Holy Communion, or the Holy Eucharist, is the bread and wine which is consecrated (blessed) and through transubstantiation (a transformation of substance) becomes the Body and Blood of Christ that we share at the celebration of Holy Mass. It is important to note that one of the main differences between the Catholic faith and other Christian denominations is that we believe the Eucharist to be not a symbol, but truly Christ present before us in body, blood, soul and divinity. This follows the call from Jesus to his disciples at the Last Supper when He broke bread and shared it saying 'this is my Body', and similarly with the cup saying 'this is my Blood', and said after each to 'do this in memory of me'.
'The celebration of the Eucharist is
"the source and summit of the Christian life"
Lumen Gentium, Second Vatican Council
Recieving the Body and Blood of Christ is a beautiful blessing to us in our faith and it should help to strengthen and sustain us in living our life for the Lord. The precepts of the Catholic church (kind of like a 'the least we should be doing as Catholics') say we should 'receive the Eucharist at least once during the Easter season'. That gives us a whole year to be sustained by the Eucharist - but we are blessed to be able to receive Jesus each and every week at Mass (another precept of the church is to attend Mass every Sunday/Saturday Vigil and on Holy Days of Obligation). Where possible some go to daily Mass also which can only be good for your soul and your day! Before receiving Holy Communion we should do our best to ensure we are ready to receive Him and that we are free from sin through the sacrament of Reconciliation.
You may only receive the Eucharist after making your First Holy Communion which is a beautiful celebration to share with family, friends and the parish community.
If you want to make your First Holy Communion here's the details:
Who is it for?
In our parish the majority of people make their First Holy Communion through preparations in Our Lady's school when they reach Year 3. Other children who have reached Year 3 but don't go to the school have preparation classes at church. This is just the minimum age though - anyone older than that can also make their First Holy Communion.
What happens during
First Holy Communion?
Once enrolled, anyone making their First Holy Communion will be invited to take part in preparation classes - this helps in understanding the Sacrament and what you are going to receive. As part of those preparations you will make your 'First Confession' through the Sacrament of Reconciliation - this rids us of any sin to prepare ourselves to 'welcome Jesus into our lives'.
There is a special Mass (usually in June in our parish) in which all those making their First Holy Communion will be invited to come up first when it comes to the right time. Usually the boys will wear smart clothes or a suit, and the girls will wear white dresses, to mark the ocassion as a special moment. This is another step in the Sacraments of Initiation in becoming a full member of the Catholic Church.
If your child goes to Our Lady's Primary School they will be offered the opportunity to celebrate this sacrament once they are in Year 3 so please keep an eye out for the information that will be given to you through the school.
If you or your child (who is older than year 3 or doesn't go to Our Lady's Primary School) want to make your First Holy Communion, then please do see one of our priests after Mass who will be able to give you a form to fill and return to the Parish Office. After this there will be First Holy Communion classes for children that take place leading up to the celebration which usually takes place in June. There will be separate preparation for any adults.
If you or someone you know is sick or housebound and would like to be visited with Holy Communion then please email your information to us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call our parish office on 01536 203121