The Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took a loaf of bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body that is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way he took the cup also, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” (1 Cor. 11:23-25)
The Eucharist (also called Holy Communion) is the source and summit of the Christian life. All other sacraments are related to the Eucharist and are oriented towards it, because it is the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely, Christ himself. Jesus called himself the Bread of Life, and some of his listeners were shocked to hear these words and left him because of this. He instituted the Eucharist in the course of the Last Supper, the meal he shared with his disciples the night before his suffering and death on the cross.
At the heart of the Eucharistic celebration are the bread and wine that, by words of Christ spoken by the priest and the invocation of the Holy Spirit, become Christ’s Body and Blood. Faithful to the Lord’s command, the Church continues to celebrate this memorial of Christ’s suffering, death, and resurrection, in which Jesus has pledged to be with us until the end of the world. Christ is therefore really and truly made present in the Eucharist.
Participation in the Eucharist unites us with Jesus, sustains and strengthens us in our earthly pilgrimage, helps us long for eternal life, and unites us to all the members of the Church.
What a glorious gift we receive through the Sacrament of the Eucharist!
Reception of First Eucharist usually takes place in a parish setting. Children who have been baptized enter into a parish Faith Formation Program – customarily by the age of 7 or 8 – to prepare to receive this marvelous gift of the Eucharist. Usually during this same period of formation, children are also prepared to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation before First Communion.
Children older than 7 or 8, adolescents, or adults wishing to be prepared to receive First Eucharist are invited to participate in a process called Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA). Please click here to learn more about RCIA.
Only Jesus can transform us into himself. Our inner receptivity is critical. To receive love, we need to be open to it. The sacrificial gift of self at every mass is the best way to be continuously transformed into Christ. Then in Christ we become bread for the worlds’ bodily and spiritual hungers. (U.S. Catholic Catechism for Adults)
Please contact your local parish to arrange for your children’s First Communion or for more information. Click here to find a parish near you.
Questions or Comments?
The local parish is responsible for providing or locating appropriate First Communion preparation. If you are a parish staff member, and need assistance locating resources, please contact your neighborhood parish or contact the Department for Pastoral Ministries at 210-734-1952 or by email.