My son and his friend did their 1st communion last year.
However this year, we attended at two 1st communions basically, one right after the other.
His cousin Jade did hers on the Saturday at 5 o’clock evening mass. Quite possibly because the church is more Italian oriented, being in an Italian neighbourhood, and Italian mass is held on the Sunday morning. It was the mass you would hear on Sunday. The children sat with their parents, the parent went up with the child to take 1st communion. No big ceremony, children did not participate in mass, although Father did take time to speak to the children and give them questions regarding the importance of why we receive the Host.
At the other one we attended, which was held the Sunday morning at 11 a.m. mass, it was at our parish and quite different… The class sat together, the children participated by doing the 1st reading, saying the prayers of the faithful, they were announced by name when receiving the Holy Eucharist, after communion was given to the parishoners, the class returned to the front of the altar and sang their 1st communion hymn…“Bread of Friendship, Bread of Life”.
Although pictures could not be taken during Mass (this escapes me because at my son’s we could…Yes I do understand that we should not disturb mass as it is sacred and flashes of camera’s could be a major distraction.) we could take pictures before and after.
To me, the second we attended was more special to all (children, parents, parishoners).
I’m the sort that believes that all Catholic rites of passage are a major cause of celebration and a big to-do should be made–this of course does not particularly mean parties and cake and hooplah, but spirituality is something to celebrate, the coming closer to God and Jesus should always be made important.
As both Fathers remarked at each 1st communion, it is very sad to see the children come
up for 1st communion and then not seeing them at church the following Sunday or for a month afterwards or only at ‘Christmas’ and ‘Easter’.
I count myself very blessed as I had the most difficult time getting my son to Mass prior to his 1st Communion. However, since taking his 1st communion, it is very rare that we miss Mass. If we cannot attend on Sunday, we go on Saturday afternoon. I pray that as he gets older, we have instilled good Catholic values and that Mass and the receiving of the Host remains a priority for him.