Just Curious: What's the norm for 1st Communion for your Diocese/Parish?

I am curious because I have a 1st Communion in another diocese which is very different compared to my own.

:Last year my oldest niece received her 1st Communion in this one diocese. It was during regular Sunday Morning Mass. The students sat with their parents and immediate family members.

Compare this to my 2nd niece who received her 1st communion three days ago in my diocese (Lincoln, Nebraska).

Her 1st Communion was a Sunday afternoon Mass (counted for Sunday Mass). The 2nd graders sat together, boy-girl-boy-girl. Their parents sat behind them. The children read the General Intercessions and had a special mediation song after they received communion. They received 1st, then their parents did behind them).

Which did I find felt more special for my niece? The one that was three days ago. Why? Because it FELT that way. Probably because it was similar to when I received my 1st communion, except mine was a Saturday morning and I don’t think we had a special song (its been 22 years).

My nephew is having his 1st communion the 26th. And it’ll be during Sunday morning Mass.

My niece (the one who received last year) wanted to know why the kids were receiving on the tongue on Sunday. I had read a flyer @ my brother’s house that for 1st communion, the children would receive on the Tongue, and would be taught the proper manners on how to receive in the hand, if they choose, for the future.

What’s your parish like? I’m just curious to see how many parishes / dioceses want to make it special (Niece #2)…

First Communion is already special. The bells and whistles, depending on how they are done, can serve to take the attention away from the holiness of the Sacrament.

In some parishes, children are taught to receive in the hand. In other parishes, children and their parents can make the decision together. In a few parishes, children are encouraged to receive on the tongue in order to help prevent abuse of the Blessed Sacrament. In parishes centered around Traditional Latin Mass, everyone receives on the tongue.

My parish has a couple Masses on a Saturday morning (since there is a school there are lots of kids). The kids say the readings and intercessions, bring the gifts at the offertory. Our pastor also invites the kids to come back with their families to the Sunday Mass (many of them wear their dress/suits again) and they receive an acknowledgement during that Mass too.

In our parish they receive their First Communion at the Sunday Mass. This year it’s at the anticipated Sunday Mass on May 9. It’s a community celebration and I think it’s appropriate to do it within the community’s regular celebration.

Our children sit with their families but they are called up individually to receive and go up accompanied by their family.

Unfortunately, the children are only taught to receive in the hand. I’m not sure they would receive on the tongue even if they were taught since in our parish only 4 people do that and they are considered ‘overly pious’ and it’s attributed to the fact that they are from a different culture. :frowning:

Our oldest made her First Communion in a parish where the parents were responsible for preparing the children. When we felt that they were adequately prepared they met with the pastor for an interview and, with his permission, received Communion at the next Sunday Mass.

Several of the children also brought the gifts up for Offertory. In fact, during offertory when the offering baskets are passed around, the girls and boys did this, too.

BTW, I don’t think it takes away from the Sacrament to have special Eucharist related songs or greater participation in the Mass by the students (such as offertory gifts or reading the General Intercessions).

In our dioceses and the one nearby both have First Communion Masses on Saturday. The majority of the parishes have schools so there are several Masses that day or over a couple of Saturdays for the larger parishes.

At my particular parish, there have been a couple of occassions where some children will make their First Communion on Sunday at the regular Mass. I never was sure as to why it was done this way, but it hasn’t happened since we got our new pastor.

Our parish does it with a special Mass (which fills the church). The children sit in front and receive first. They do the readings and bring the gifts forward. Both of my children’s First Communions were like this. They had theirs on a Sunday afternoon. The most recent group (new pastor) had theirs on a Saturday morning.

Back in the early 70’s when I was in 1st grade, I received my First Communion one Sunday during a regular Mass. I think my parents told the priest it was my first time. I remember that I had a yellow dress that my mom had made and the elastic in the sleeves was too tight. Other than that…

I think by the time my little brother came along a couple of years later, they received it as a class…

Although I had received at a separate Mass and so did my children, I have reconsidered the rationale for that. What has happened is that First Communion day has turned into an extravangaza and a time to showcase the kids. I did my doctoral dissertation on this topic. In a comusmer oriented society, this feeds right into it…the dress, the party, limos to the church (yes it happens). The focus is not on receiving Jesus. I can go on and on with regard to the things I find problematic, from the kids proclaiming the readings to some parishes having the kids stand around the altar, to the dreaded bringing the kids up to sing a “special song” after communion.

Having First Holy Communion at a Sunday Mass puts the focus where it should be…on receiving Jesus. They do so as part of the community that they worship with every Sunday. The problem is that the majority of them do not worship at Mass on Sunday. We have two options in our parish. To receive at the “special” Saturday Mass or at a Sunday Mass. The ones who are most active in the parish usually choose the SUnday Mass and choose the Mass that they usually attend so that the child may receive with the community.

In my parish, as well as the eparchy, the newly baptized are immediately confirmed, make their first communions at the Liturgy following, and are brought to Communion from that point on.

How does having a Saturday morning Mass not put the focus on Jesus? The focus of every Mass is on Jesus. The people that attend and fill that Mass are also part of the community and receive communion.

Any other other “observations” you may have done about the type of people that attend either are just assumptions and generalizations.

The Church’s preference is for First Communion to take place on Sunday.

Redemptionis Sacramentum
87.] The First Communion of children must always be preceded by sacramental confession and absolution.[169] Moreover First Communion should always be administered by a Priest and never outside the celebration of Mass. Apart from exceptional cases, it is not particularly appropriate for First Communion to be administered on Holy Thursday of the Lord’s Supper. Another day should be chosen instead, such as a Sunday between the Second and the Sixth Sunday of Easter, or the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ, or the Sundays of Ordinary Time, since Sunday is rightly regarded as the day of the Eucharist.[170]

The footnote [170] refers us to Apostolic Letter DIES DOMINI of the Holy Father John Paul II to the Bishops, Clergy and Faithful of the Catholic Church


The document you just quoted does not exclude other days, even if Sunday is preferred. The Church often makes other provisions in the liturgy for pastoral reasons (for example the Chrism Mass being done on Tuesday rather than Holy Thursday, as is the case in my Archdiocese). In a similar way, you have to take into account the number of first communicants where there is a large number due to a school, + guests + regular faithful and you have a situation where it would detract from worship.

My parish has the children make their First Communion at one of four Masses spread out over a weekend. There is one Mass on Saturday morning for a certain number of the children. The rest make their First Communion at the Saturday anticipatory Mass or at one of the regular Sunday Masses.

While it’s not guaranteed that all families get their choice, they at least have some opportunity to pick between a dedicated First Communion Mass and a Sunday Mass.

I’d be curious to know how many of the families whose children receive at the Saturday morning Mass bother to return for the Sunday Mass.

Well, my parish makes it a pretty big deal, even when the group is small (as is the case w/ my twins coming up here very shortly).

First Communion is always celebrated at the 12:30pm Mass (one of the regular times) on the first Sunday in May. The group sits together as a group.

Monday after, the families are invited to come to the morning daily Mass, and this time the children sit with their families. There’s a breakfast put on by the parish after that Mass.

Then, the next Sunday (Mother’s Day), the children from the 1st Communion class are to wear their clothes from 1st Communion again and participate in the May crowning.

I think our parish traditions concerning the Monday after and the Sunday after are meant to help underscore that after the first time, you’re supposed to come back (often).

Our parish usually has the 1st Communion (and Confirmation) Mass on a special day. This year is I believe a Thursday. The reasons being that our parish has quite a few kids every year and our church building is far to small to fit all the kids and their parents and any guests. So instead of doing a Sunday Mass in a gymnasium, we do a weekday Mass at a neighboring parish with a much larger church.

Also, we teach that they MUST receive on the tongue for First Communion, they are taught how to properly receive in the hand if they should decide to receive in that manner after First Communion. But for first, they must receive on the tongue.

I don’t know that anyone is keeping track…

But I’d guess that a significant number of those who make their FC on *Sunday *don’t show up the following Sunday. It’s not just a two-days-in-a-row-is-too-many mindset. It’s a Mass-is-for-special-occasions-and-most-weeks-aren’t-special-enough-for-our-family mindset. At least those families have done better than the hatched/matched/dispatched only “Catholics”.

A related question: What do most parishes do about the first communicants’ uncatechized parents?

How many parishes require that parents attend a few sessions prior to their child receiving first Eucharist and first Reconciliation? What is done during these sessions? Any effective catechesis? Any expectations placed on the parents at all concerning their practicing the faith? Are the parents encouraged to take advantage of Reconciliation the same time the children are going to confession?

In our parish and in many in our diocese the process used for preparation for First Communion involves both the parents and the children at all sessions with an expectation of work at home in between sessions. For the well catechized parent it’s a refresher course, for the uncatechized or poorly catechized parents it’s an eye opening experience. We have seen a certain percentage return to the Church as a result. Not all, by a long shot, but enough to give us hope that we are headed in the right direction.

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