The Sacrament of the Eucharist - First Holy Communion
The word ‘communion’ means to be united with. Catholics believe that in holy communion they are united in a special way with Jesus Christ, that they are sharing in the body and blood of Christ the Saviour. Holy Communion, and the whole service (Mass) is also known as Eucharist, from a Greek word meaning thanksgiving.
The Sacrament of the Eucharist (First Holy Communion) is a Roman Catholic ceremony. It is the colloquial name for a person's first celebration of the sacrament of the Eucharist. The celebration of First Eucharist is a sacred and important moment on a long journey of faith development. Together with Baptism and Confirmation, it opens the door to full membership of the Christian community. At the ceremony, each child receives Communion, normally in the form of a small round piece of bread placed by the Priest in the palms of their hands.
Most Catholic children receive their First Communion when they’re seven or eight years of age because this is considered the age of reason. This means that most children are usually in second class in school when they make their First Communion.
In order for to receive communion the recipient should be without sin and in a state of grace. Traditionally, therefore young Catholic children will make their first confession, i.e. the Sacrament of Reconciliation some weeks before receiving their First Holy Communion. The Sacrament of Baptism must also have been received before receiving the First Communion. Click here for some suggested books on the Sacrament of the Eucharist.