Your Child’s First Communion

First Communion is a sacred Roman Catholic ceremony for children of about 7 or 8 years of age. If your child was not baptized in infancy, they will be baptized shortly before their First Communion. This is the time in a child’s life when the Church recognizes that they have reached the age of reason and are able to participate more fully in church life.

The celebrations surrounding First Communion are often quite large and extravagant. Extended family, schoolmates and church family are invited to share in the special day. The invitations you choose should reflect the formality and importance of the event.

Invitations

First Communion invitations come in a wide variety of styles, often with gold or silver foil embellishments, embossed printing and ribbon or lace bows. Coordinated lined envelopes, thank you cards and programs complete the package.

Order your invitations well in advance and mail them to your guests 2 to 3 weeks before the ceremony.

Dress

Most children have a special dress or outfit for their First Communion. Boys may wear white robes or suits, while girls traditionally wear beautiful white dresses (to symbolize purity) with lace trimming, a veil and long white gloves.

The event is one that many families place such importance on that they will hire a professional photographer to capture the day for them. Others might even have a videographer film the happenings.

Gifts

Guests bring gifts to congratulate the child. Most often, these gifts are religious in nature and might include prayer books, rosaries or religious statues.

Ceremony

First Communion is much more than an excuse for a celebration; it marks the event of the child knowing and understanding the meaning of transubstantiation, or the changing of bread and wine into Christ’s body and blood.

The child will fast for one hour before receiving the holy sacrament of their First Communion.

Reception

The First Communion reception takes place after the ceremony, usually in the family’s home or a rented hall because of the number of guests invited. This celebration centers around the child and their decision to accept Christ as a part of their life and to become one with him.

A buffet style meal is usually easiest to prepare and serve. Members of the church or extended family often come together to set the tables, decorate the room and serve the meal.

Decorating will depend on the parents personal tastes, but should be elaborate enough to reflect the seriousness of the event. Linens, matching table and flatware and centerpieces are standard.

Use draped fabric, fabric bows and floral arrangements to dress up the room. Play light music in the background and encourage a celebratory, social atmosphere with good lighting, plenty of beverages and finger foods and photos of the child displayed around the room for guests to view.

Wrapping It Up

As the child opens each gift, record the present and who it was given by to simplify filling out thank you cards afterwards. Try to personally thank each guest for coming and sharing in your child’s special event.

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