Jesus said: “‘I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.’ …Jesus said to them, ‘Amen, amen, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. …Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him’” (John 6:51, 53, 54, 56, NAB).
The Eucharist is an inexhaustible mystery that can be spoken about in many ways… but simply stated, the Eucharist is Jesus Christ. As Catholics, we believe that the host (wheat bread) and the wine (grape wine) consecrated by a Catholic priest (who invokes the Holy Spirit and repeats the words of Jesus from the Last Supper) actually become the Body and Blood (and soul and divinity) of our Lord Jesus Christ.
These consecrated elements, now truly the Body and Blood of Jesus, is the food which nourishes us in our spiritual life… just as a hamburger or green beans nourish us in our physical life. This is why one of the early Church fathers, Clement of Alexandria wrote: “‘Eat my flesh,’ [Jesus] says, ‘and drink my blood.’
The Lord supplies us with these intimate nutrients, he delivers over his flesh and pours out his blood, and nothing is lacking for the growth of his children” (The Instructor of Children 1:6:43:3, AD 191). See! Even the early Church believed what Catholics today believe, namely, that the Eucharist is the spiritual food which Jesus gives to His followers so that they may be nourished on their path towards holiness.
The celebration of the Eucharist (the Mass) is the “source and summit” of the Christian life. The Mass is at the centre of the life of every parish. Here in our Parish, we express the importance of the Mass by celebrating the Eucharist very frequently, with as much beauty and reverence as possible.
Each year we provide a programme of preparation for the children of our parish who, being aged seven and above, are old enough to make their First Confession and receive their First Holy Communion. The programme usually begins each autumn and involves regular sessions with the children and three sessions for their parents. It culminates with the celebration of First Holy Communion on whichever Sunday the Catholic Church celebrates the Solemnity of Corpus Christi.
Our programme of preparation is open to children already baptised Catholic who belong to our parish either through registration or by living within our boundaries.
Forms / Useful Information
Please download the Application Form here and return it to the Parish Office
- The Catechism of the Catholic Church – Sacrament of the Eucharist (On this Site)
- The Catechism of the Catholic Church Online – Index
- The Catechism of the Catholic Church – Sacrament of the Eucharist (on Vatican Site)
- Word on Fire topic – The Eucharist
Frequently Asked Questions
Just as is the case with all of the sacraments, the Eucharist instills the very life of God into the recipient. In other words, they bring grace to the grace needy.
Specifically though, the Church teaches that the effects of the Eucharist are four-fold:
- Our relationship (union) with Christ is deepened
- The supernatural, divine life, in the recipient is increased, strengthening him/her to live a holy, loving, self-sacrificing Christian life
- The recipient is separated from sin (venial sin is forgiven and the recipient is preserved from mortal sin)
- The recipient is united more firmly to other members of the Church and as such the Church grows in unity.
As frequently as possible! Actually, the Church prescribes that Catholics receive the Eucharist at least once per year (during Easter) but recommends that Catholics partake of the sacrament as frequently as possible (not to exceed two times per day). After all, if the Eucharist really is what the Church believes, why wouldn’t a person want to receive Christ daily or at least as often as possible?
Catholics, who are in a state of grace (i.e., are not conscious of any grave mortal sin and have gone to confession since their last mortal sin), believe in transubstantiation (i.e., that the bread and wine transform, mysteriously, into the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus), have observed the 1 hour required fast (i.e., no food or drink other than water and/or medication) prior to receiving the Eucharist unless they are elderly, ill, or there are good grounds for not having observed the fast (being a 22 year old guy who is hungry probably is not a good reason!), and are in full communion with the Church (i.e., have not been excommunicated).
For those Christians who are not in full communion with the Church (i.e., separated Protestant brothers and sisters), the Church asks that they respect Catholic belief in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist and abstain from communion unless in danger of death or out of grave necessity in which case the bishop may give approval.
And as for non-Christians, the Church asks that they also respect Catholic belief and teaching on the Eucharist and abstain from participation in the sacrament although the Church does encourage them to pray for themselves and the whole human family. For more details about the Church’s teaching on who can receive communion, please click here.
The Lord’s Supper
The Breaking of Bread
The Memorial of the Lord’s Passion and Resurrection
The Holy Sacrifice
The Blessed Sacrament
Bread from Heaven
Medicine of Immortality
We always welcome our non-Catholic brothers and sisters to celebrate with us. During the Communion Rite, they can process up for a blessing. As they approach the priest, they can cross their arms across their chest as a sign that they have come up for the blessing, as Catholics also do when not receiving the Eucharist.
There is no “dress code,” but rather leaves that to the discretion of each family. The Mass is an awesome miracle, and those who partake of the heavenly banquet are tremendously privileged. Appropriate dress is a simple way of acknowledging this privilege. However, keep in mind your child’s comfort; we do not want them to be too distracted by what they are wearing.
Have you child pay attention as to how people receive communion at the Masses leading up to his/her first communion.
Here’s a video to help you and your child, so you can also watch this by clicking here.
Why does my child have to participate in a separate preparation if my child is enrolled in Catholic School?
The Archdiocesan policies require that all children be prepared for Sacraments together regardless of how they receive their religious education, i.e. parish school, parish faith formation program, or home school. This does not take away from the preparation that is going on in their “regular” classroom; it enhances it and brings about a deeper sense of family and parish community.
Life happens. Please contact the Holy Communication team to let us know if you will not be able to attend an upcoming meeting. You will then receive instructions on what you can do to get the needed information or make up the event. Please keep in mind, however, the goal of nurturing your child’s relationship with God and their understanding of these sacraments when scheduling activities and committing your time.
It would be wonderful for both parents to attend the meetings, but only one parent/guardian needs to attend each meeting per sacrament.
The two parent meetings are to offer you help by exploring the Sacrament of Eucharist at an adult level. With a better understanding of the Eucharist, you will be better equipped to help your child prepare for this sacrament. These meetings are the same meetings that are part of the preparation for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, so you have probably already attended the first meeting. If you’ve missed this one, however, there is a make-up session. See the schedule for details.
The first workshop is where we give out workbooks, helpful materials, create a chalice, and review the Sacrament of Eucharist.
The second workshop serves as a review and practice for children, and we answer questions from parents about the upcoming celebration.
It is very important that you and your child attend both of these events.
The home is the primary place where faith is cultivated. Parents are their child’s primary example of how to live as a Christian and they remain instrumental to their child’s spiritual formation throughout life. It is then natural that this special preparation would take place in the home. Parents are not alone, however, in this task. From the time of a child’s baptism, the Church offers support through prayer, communal worship, faith formation programs (be it parish or Catholic school sponsored), and a place to give thanks to our God who is always so generous. St Swithun, in addition to all the aforementioned and in light of the important task ahead of you, offers two parent-child preparation workshops and two parent meetings.
Our Eucharist preparation is similar to that of Reconciliation. Parents and children prepare mostly at home using a workbook. The workbook has eight lessons which will guide parent and child through familiar Bible stories, offer discussion points, and suggest activities for you while on this journey. There are two parent-child workshops at the church to begin and conclude the preparation. We also offer two parent meetings to assist parents as they prepare their children.
If you remember, at your child’s Baptism, you as parents reaffirmed your belief in the Catholic Church and promised to raise your child in the Catholic faith. This is what the Church calls our “founded hope” that your child will be raised in the Catholic faith. Today, if this “founded hope” is in jeopardy because your faith as a parent has changed and you no longer believe in the Catholic Church, or you attend another Christian church, or for whatever reason you are not willing to ensure that your child will have opportunities to learn the faith and attend Sunday Mass, there may be reason to delay First Holy Communion. These are serious issues and will need the priest’s determination to proceed. If any of this describes your belief or practice today, please contact a priest or deacon early to discuss your particular situation.
First Holy Communion candidates is usually scheduled in early June. Please see our parish calendar and newsletters for the exact dates
The instruction for First Holy Communion typically takes place during a school year schedule for both the Catholic school and public school children in second grade.
At a minimum, your child must:
Be baptized in the Catholic Church, or another Christian denomination recognized by the Catholic Church. Basically, they must have been baptized with water and “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
Attend the First Holy Communion Preparation course which generally starts in September.
Have received the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Instruction for this sacrament will take place at the same time as instruction for First Holy Communion . The reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation will take place a few weeks before First Holy Communion.
Answer here. Sample question.