How do I register my child for 1st Holy Communion?
Contact our Faith Formation Coordinator.
Two years of classes are required by the diocese. Classes start in 1st grade and finish at the end of 2nd grade. The sacrament of Holy Communion itself takes place two to four weeks after Easter. All classes are held at St. Albert School (400 Gleason Ave.) on Wednesday evenings and run mid-September to May. Families must be registered in the parish and regularly attending Mass for themselves and to help the child learn the sacredness of the Mass. Registration begins mid-August.
If your child is older than the typical age for 1st Holy Communion, special arrangements need to be made.
What is Holy Communion? – A brief explanation.
First of all Holy Communion can be called by many names.
- Holy Communion is just that, a holy communion, the mutual exchange of friendship but marked by the personal depth of sacred vows. It is the action of us receiving the Body & Blood of Christ and Jesus receiving us through our prayers and physical presence. These two words reinforce the sacred relationship Jesus extends to us through the Mass itself and our willingness to follow him.
- 1st Holy Communion is the first time when a Catholic receives the Body and Blood of Christ at the Mass.
- Eucharist is the Greek word for “thanksgiving”. Eucharist can refer to the entire Mass from beginning to end with all the prayers and songs. Eucharist can also mean the Sacred Species, the actual Precious Body or Precious Blood of Christ.
- Mass refers to the worship offered on Sunday or any weekday in which bread and wine is consecrated.
- The Body & Blood of Christ are the elements that Catholics receive at Holy Communion. It has the appearance of bread and wine, but is the Real Presence of Christ’s Body & Blood.
- Breaking of the Bread is a phrase used in the New Testament for the Mass.
- Wedding Feast of the Lamb is a poetic way of talking about the Mass and is used in the book of Revelation. All weddings have celebrations afterwards with much food. In this context, the wedding and wedding feast are considered as one. Jesus is the Groom and the Church is His mystical bride. In the Mass we hear Jesus’ words, “This is my Body given up for you.” This statement is the summary of all the grooms’ vows to give himself freely, totally, faithfully, and fruitfully. The Church as bride in turn hears and receives the vows.
The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the most important prayer that the Catholic Church can offer. It is considered so sacred for several reasons.
- Jesus told us to do it, “Do this is memory of me.”
- Jesus’s institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper is the fulfillment of what began at Passover. God commanded the Jews to create a perpetual memorial when God saved them from the angel of death as the final plague before leaving Egypt. They were saved for a day and allowed to leave physical slavery in Egypt. Jesus fulfills what began at Passover by saving us from eternal death, not for a day, but for eternity. We are not saved from physical slavery, but slavery to sin. Rightly, so, He asked us to “do this in memory of Me.”
- It expresses the sacrificial love of Jesus at the Last Supper when He knew all but one of the Twelve Apostles would abandon Him.
- When Jesus said, “This is my Body given for you”, He meant what He said. This is His Body. This is His Blood. Thus, as Catholics who believe in Jesus’ literal words, also believe that the Eucharist is truly Jesus. It is Jesus’ Real Presence in the Eucharist under the appearance of bread and wine. To be at Mass is to be with Jesus Himself; to see Him, to touch Him, to worship Him. It is as close to heaven as we can get in this world. (See John 6 for the Bread of Life Discourse and Jesus’ own words that the Eucharist is truly His Body & Blood.)
- The culmination of the Last Supper ends at the Crucifix. It is all one extended moment. At the cross Jesus said, “It is finished.” His ministry to proclaim the Good News is consummated at the cross when “giving up His Body for us” He proclaimed the Good News by bearing the sins of the world and paid the debt of our sins. Each Mass is about knowing that Jesus took our place; it should have been us on the cross.
- The Mass is the re-presentation of Christ’s sacrifice in an unbloody way. Jesus does not suffer again. But each Mass is like being at the Last Supper and Cross simultaneously. Each Mass is like being with Jesus at the extended moment when He saved us. We all like to be at momentous events: a child’s first steps. What would it be like if God made it ritually possible for us to be at the moment of salvation? It would be eternally important for us, important enough to show whether or not we are open to salvation.
That is why Catholics have Mass every day. It is that sacred and that important. How we participate at Mass shows how much we love God.