A Bigger Deal than the First Day of School: First Holy Communion

Any of you have young ones preparing to receive their First Holy Communion this spring? Are you excited, or dreading, the shopping for white dresses and nice suits? Wondering if you should buy shoes now, or wait a month just in case feet grow? Planning the party? Making invitations?

Are you preparing your child at home, or sending them to the parish program to prepare? Are you praying together at home? Planning a family trip to the sacrament of Confession a few times before the Big Day?

Are you anticipating the day with excitement and letting the excitement rub off on your child, or grumbling that you won’t be able to sit close enough for good pictures?

Yes, that was a lot of questions! I don’t often play 20-questions…but these all seem important to be asking ourselves (myself).

I have a daughter preparing for First Holy Communion, and each day my excitement for her grows. M is our 2nd child to prepare for the sacrament, but she’s the first one I have prepared at home. We are part of a great parish, and our children are enrolled in the parish RE program, but they have left sacrament preparation up to the parents. They do provide books and support if needed, as well as a sort of retreat and interview at the end of the preparation time. The books they’ve provided are good–true to the official Church teachings, and child-friendly, but when I read through the books last fall for Penance, I just felt there had to be something better. In other words, this homeschool mama and former RE director just doesn’t love the books they gave us.

I polled some other experienced homeschool moms, and decided to look into the materials provided by Catholic Heritage Curricula. They are just fabulous. My daughter and I have been having great discussions about the Mass while she assembles a Mass book with prayer cards. I read to her from one or two books, which talk about the sacrifice of the Mass, the importance of the Eucharist, and how we can best prepare now for First Holy Communion, and be prepared for every Mass.

Like I said, my excitement grows each day. As I teach my daughter, my love for the Mass and Eucharist grows. Our Savior comes to us, physically present and full of life-giving Love at every single Mass! Imagine! No matter how we’ve been acting, no matter how distant we’ve become, no matter if it is our 1st, 78th, or 1,000th Communion, Jesus is anticipating being with us, with open arms, just waiting for us to welcome him with open arms and heart. As a parent, I know the joy and anticipation of being welcomed by a child when I arrive home after being away…I know the joy of being welcomed by my parents when we visit…just think–how much more does Jesus anticipate us, and how much more joy and love He has to share with us when we receive Him (worthily!) in the Eucharist!

If only our longing for Him equaled His longing for us.

It dawned on me the other day, that there are many important “growing up” and “coming of age” days which we plan for, anticipate, and celebrate in our children’s lives. Pinterest is a great tool for things like birthdays and first days of school…and yet, it can also be a burden. How much time we mothers can spend searching for the perfect table-scape, perfect decor, perfect food…for these passing days which are fun and great to celebrate, but aren’t nearly as BIG as First Holy Communion.

I mean…WOW. Being united with our God, our Savior, the One who loves us more than we can ever know, more than any person on earth can ever dream of loving us…for the first time! Take a second and just *try* wrap your head around it.

First Holy Communion is a much bigger deal than a first birthday or first day of school.

I say we take back the importance and celebration, and make it worthwhile! Let’s spend time, first of all, praying for and with our children preparing for this great sacrament, and joyfully look forward to it with them. Read about the Mass together, talk about what the Eucharist is, and share any stories you have of profound experiences in Adoration or at Mass. Go to daily Mass together if you can. Go at least once to the sacrament of Confession as a family, before First Holy Communion. Talk about (or learn together) Eucharistic miracles. Then, don’t feel guilty spending time planning a great celebration for your child! Of course, this isn’t all about the party after Mass…but the party should be a continuation of the joy of being in Communion with Christ.

Overwhelmed? Here are some of my favorites for First Communion.

first communion faves

1-For gifts from Mom and Dad before the event, how about a lovely new hair clip from Lilla Rose? They come in many sizes for little girls, fine or thicker hair, and moms, too. (Link is for a blogger friend’s website)

2-Or, a new custom rosary for your son or daughter? I just love the combinations Allison has, and the many options for cross and holy medals! For girls, you can also ask about rosary bracelets.

3-To read before First Holy Communion, as a family, “The King of the Golden City”. We are reading this right now, as a read-aloud a few times each morning. It is a lovely story about a little girl and her relationship with the King (Jesus), who guides her on the journey to The Golden City (Heaven).

4-Also a good read before First Holy Communion, the “Little Catechism on the Eucharist” explains details of the faith, the sacrament, and has stories of Eucharistic miracles, too.

5-Dresses can be hard to find in local stores, as I found when we were shopping for Miss T two years ago. Then we found the website flowergirldressesforless.com. Two years ago, and again this year (just tonight!) we found lovely dresses for a reasonable price. Be sure to follow their measuring guidelines!! My girls are on the petite side, but not so petite that at age 7 they regularly wear a size 4 dress. But, following their measuring guides and sizing guides, that is the size of dress we ordered. It worked out perfectly two years ago. There are enough options for all kinds of budgets and styles, so take a look! They also have veils and headbands.

I could go on and on. Check back soon for more, I hope to share some other things we are doing to prepare spiritually, and to plan a simple, yet meaningful celebration for such a special event!

{linking with Moxie Wife for 5 Favorites!}

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4 thoughts on “A Bigger Deal than the First Day of School: First Holy Communion

  1. These are sweet choices – I remember my First Communion and was so excited to wear my little white dress! I don’t think I fully understood at that age what I was really doing…of course, looking back, it truly was such an important day!

  2. I have prepared 3 out of 5 of my children for FHC and next year my 4th child will receive. Such a blessed and beautiful time for sure! Like you said, I learn so much by teaching my children our beautiful faith! The Little Catechism of the Catholic Church is an excellent resource that use as well! May you have a blessed Lent and FHC!

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