“Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had said the blessing he broke it and gave it to the disciples. ‘Take it and eat,’ he said, ‘this is my body.’ Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he handed it to them saying, ‘Drink from this, all of you, for this is my blood, the blood of the covenant, poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
From now on, I tell you, I shall never again drink wine until the day I drink the new wine with you in the kingdom of my Father.'(Matt. 26 26-29)
Holy Communion or Eucharist. Eucharist comes from the Greek word, “eucharistia” which means “thanksgiving.” The Eucharist is “The Great Thanksgiving” in which we meet God in the ordinary substances of bread and wine.
First Holy Communion
First Communion is considered one of the holiest and most important occasions in a Catholic Christians life. It means that person has received the Sacrament of the Eucharist, the body and blood of Jesus Christ for the first time.
“Jesus replied to them: In all truth I tell you, if you do not eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Anyone who does eat my flesh and drink my blood has eternal life, and I shall raise that person up on the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood lives in me and I live in that person.” (John 6: 53-56)
What are the effects of Holy Communion?
Since the earliest times, the benefits of receiving the Body and Blood of Christ were spelled out to encourage frequent, even daily reception of Holy Communion.
The church officially teaches that “Every effect which bodily food and bodily drink produce in our corporeal life (physical life), by preserving this life, increasing this life, healing this life, and satisfying this life – is also produced by this Sacrament in the spiritual life” (Council of Florence, November 22, 1439).
- Holy Communion preserves the supernatural life of the soul by giving the person supernatural strength to resist temptation, and by weakening the power of concupiscence. It reinforces the ability of our free will to withstand the assaults of the devil. In a formal definition, the Church calls Holy Communion “an antidote by which we are preserved from grievous sins” (Council of Trent, October 11, 1551).
- Holy Communion increases the life of grace already present by vitalizing our supernatural life and strengthening the virtues and gifts of the Holy Spirit we possess. To be emphasized, however, is that the main effect of Communion is not to remit sin. In fact, a person in conscious mortal sin commits a sacrilege by going to Communion.
- Holy Communion cures the spiritual diseases of the soul by cleansing it of venial sins and thetemporal punishment due to sin. No less than serving as an antidote to protect the soul from mortal sins, Communion is “an antidote by which we are freed from our daily venial sins” (Council of Trent, October 11, 1551). The remission of venial sins and of the temporal sufferings due to sin takes place immediately by reason of the acts of perfect love of God, which are awakened by the reception of the Eucharist. The extent of this remission depends on the intensity of our charity when receiving Communion.
- Holy Communion gives us a spiritual joy in the service of Christ, in defending His cause, in performing the duties of our state of life, and in making the sacrifices required of us in imitating the life of our Savior.
On Christ’s own promise, Holy Communion is a pledge of heavenly glory and of our bodily resurrection from the dead (John 6:55). St. Irenaeus (died AD 202) simply declared that, “when our bodies partake of the Eucharist, they are no longer corruptible as they have the hope of eternal resurrection” (Against the Heresies, IV, 18,5).
For the administration of the Most Holy Eucharist to children, it is required that they have sufficient knowledge and careful preparation so as to understand the mystery of Christ according to their capacity and can receive the Body of the Lord with faith and devotion. (Canon 913)
Most Catholic children receive their First Holy Communion the year after First Reconciliation, i.e. when the child is in Year 3.
Evidence should be submitted of valid baptism through a Baptismal Certificate and Certificate of First Reconciliation.
When is it done?
The Sacrament of Eucharist or First Holy Communion, is available to children in year 3 or higher who have made their first reconciliation.
When must one receive Holy Communion?
The Church recommends that the faithful, if they have the required dispositions, receive Holy Communion whenever they participate at Holy Mass. However, the Church obliges them to receive Holy Communion at least once a year during the Easter season. (CCC 1389)
See article “Lenten Penance” by Cardinal George Pell – 20th Jan 2012.
What is required to receive Holy Communion?
You must be in a state of grace.
“Whoever therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord.” (1st Corinthians 11:27)
Sometimes Catholics who are in a state of mortal sin, out of habit or fear of embarrassment, choose to go forward and offend God rather than stay in the pew.
You must have been to confession since your last mortal sin.
The code of Canon Law states. “A person who is conscious of a grave sin is not to receive the body of the Lord.
You must believe in the transubstantiation.
“For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgement upon himself”. (1st Corinthians 11:29)
You must observe the Eucharistic fast.
One who is to receive the Most Holy Eucharist is to abstain from any food or drink, with the exception only of water and medicine, for at least the period of one hour before Holy Communion”.
You must have made your First Communion.
You must not be under an ecclesiastical censure, such as excommunication.
Those who are excommunicated and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion. A common excommunication is automatically incurred by receiving or participating in an abortion.
First Holy Communion Program at OLMC
The Sacrament of Eucharist generally referred to as First Holy Communion, is available to children in year 3 or higher who have made their First Reconciliation. Children wishing to register should attend a Registration/Orientation Evening.
Following registration children need to attend preparation classes with their parent. These are usually held in the Parish Hall on weekday evenings.