First Communion – A right of Passage for Roman Catholics
First Communion is a very important day in the lives of child, Church and parents. Lapsed and practising Catholics alike want their childrento be educated in the teachings of Christ. They want their sons and daughters to make their own commitment and to understand the Sacrament of Holy Communion.
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A child’s first communion is a very special day in their life, a day that will be remembered 60 or 70 years hence. First Communion is a Right of Passage ceremony into the Catholic Church, where children make their own commitment to Christ.
The seven year old children have to attend liturgy lessons for about ten weeks each Saturday. Sometimes these may be given by a priest. More often, they are led by a nun or a lay person. Gone are the days of ritualistic learning of bible passages. Lessons include video and computer presentations to the children.
The day is important to the Church because this is the day when a child begins to understand about Christ, and his sacrifice He made for us all. At a child’s First Communion he or she will take the Sacrament for the first time. This is a very important day in the life of any Christian.
Parents want to make the day as special as possible. There is, undoubtedly a social side to the day, with parents making favourable comments on their friends children, while all the time, thinking that their own child outshines all the others.
Girls always wear white first communion dresses with a veil. The dress may be specially made by a seamstress specializing in these dresses, or it may be purchased from a shop or store that has a range of first communion dresses on display. The individually designed option is gaining popularity because of the unique nature of the dress created.
Boys first communion clothes normally consist of smart trousers, white shirt and perhaps a jacket or waistcoat. These are normally bought from children’s clothing retailers rather than being individually tailored.
The important thing is to plan ahead. Order or buy the clothes you need in plenty of time. You do not want to be reduced to a choice of two outfits, neither of which actually fits.
After the ceremony in the church there may be family celebrations in the parents’ or grandparents’ home. Sometimes the parents hire a room in a bar or hotel. It is traditional for the child to be given money by everyone he or she meets. Those who cannot attend are visited by the child and parents with photos and video clips.