“For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him. Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father, so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.” John 6: 55-57
The Eucharist is “the source and summit of the Christian life.” The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch.” The Eucharist is the efficacious sign and sublime cause of that communion in the divine life and that unity of the People of God by which the Church is kept in being. It is the culmination both of God’s action sanctifying the world in Christ and of the worship men offer to Christ and through him to the Father in the Holy Spirit. Finally, by the Eucharistic celebration we already unite ourselves with the heavenly liturgy and anticipate eternal life, when God will be all in all.In brief, the Eucharist is the sum and summary of our faith: “Our way of thinking is attuned to the Eucharist, and the Eucharist in turn confirms our way of thinking.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1323-1327)
First Holy Communion is most often celebrated by children around the age of seven or eight, when they have reached the age of reason and are capable of participating in the sacramental life of the Catholic Church. First Holy Communion is to be preceded by the sacraments of baptism, reconciliation and confirmation. “Children must go to the sacrament of Penance before receiving Holy Communion for the first time” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1457).
Children participating in the St. Mary religious education/faith formation program begin preparation for receiving the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist in the first grade. In the second grade they begin a more comprehensive preparation and are also expected to complete an at home workbook for each of the Sacraments. Once a child can aptly express in a personal interview with the pastor or his representative that they have an understanding of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Eucharist, a date may be scheduled for them to receive the Sacrament.