Petit Communion and Grand Communion in France!

Hello All,
I need some urgent help with some credible information. I searched online a while but could not find something relevent.

I have a French friend ( who is supposed to be catholic, but chose no to be) whose niece is receiving " grand communion" . She supposed to educate her, guide her through it since my friend is her God mother. But she asked me to help her out from this far away place.

Her niece is receiving her Grand communion and I have no clue what is that? They apparently receive first communion “twice” in their life.
Does anyone know about it? Can anyone help me understand what are these two communion means, so that I can help her my friend accordigly.

Hoping to get some information from everybody.

God bless you all for your help,

A bit of history.

Until 1910, Confirmation took place around the age of 12 followed by First Communion. When Pius X allowed children to receive Communion around the age of 7, often Confirmation followed shortly afterward. Some places looked for a ceremony that would show a sense of adulthood in the Church for older children.

In France, First Communion was nicknamed “Petite Communion” and it was mostly a family affair. Then, when the children reached the age of 12 or 13 they attended special catechism classes and made what was called their Communion Solennelle or “Solemn Communion”. This was the great parish celebration marking the end of Catechism and the beginning of an adult faith. This custom also developed in French Canadian parishes. By the time I made my First Communion (1960) and was confirmed (1961) both those sacraments were marked as big parish events, nonetheless ‘Communion Solennelle’ in my parish continued until the late 60s. As the age for Confirmation crept up to the teens, it eventually became the ‘graduation from Catechism’ that Solemn Communion had been. The year I was supposed to make mine I said I wasn’t ready and the next year it was dropped completely.

The best way to help her goddaughter would be to simply get her a copy of the Catechism and have her read that. They could do it together since she sounds as though she might need it too. Sadly, a non-practicing godmother doesn’t sound like the right person to be helping a teenager develop a deeper adult faith.

When I searched I found reference to two types of ceremonies which still exist: Premiere communion (which is private and ordinary and is used in cases where a child for pastoral reason is permitted to receive earlier than the usual age of 11 to 12) and Solumelle Communion which is, for most French children, the actual first time they receive communion and is a public ceremony. Does that help?

Such would reflect perhaps something from hundreds of years ago…

They would receive around age 7 in France as the rest of the Latin Church.

The ritual today in France, although the parents and grandparents probably still refer to it as Communion solennelle, is properly called a Profession de foi “Profession of Faith” and it is more closely linked to Baptism than to Communion. It seems to involve a public renewal of baptismal promises among other things. Er, Easter Vigil anyone?

I don’t know why they feel that the 3 Sacraments of Initiation aren’t enough.

One thing that isn’t clear (to me, at least) in the OP is whether this is in the EF. If so, it’s likely that the custom of communion solenelle is still observed.

Hmm, I thought it was harder to find an EF Mass in France than to find a snowball in Houston in August.

Hard to tell from the diocesan websites that I’ve visited. Some don’t mention this this or any catechism information at all.

My biggest suggestions for those who set up diocesan websites is that they include information on diocesan policies for the sacraments and customs like this. It makes it so much easier for those of us who need to know to keep forums like this going.:smiley:

I don’t know if it’s that bad …:eek: but I suppose it depends on the diocese. I’ve heard that Bordeaux is open to the EF, and I would imagine that there are others as well. (I’ve read that Mgr Vingt-Trois actually offered the EF himself in Paris.) In any case, though, at the same time one has to keep in mind the SSPX, which has a solid and distinct presence throughout France.

Thanks to all for your comments. I have a an idea what is petit et grande communion means.

But one more doubts… Which one is considered as the first communion ? Why initiate the Sacraments of Holy Eucharist without proper formation early and one with a formation later?
Anyone has some more info ?

The first Communion is the First Communion and they have formation for that. They continue receiving Communion afterwards just like everywhere else. It’s just that there is more mature formation to those approaching the Church for this, shall we say, formal entrance into ‘adult faith’.

Ohh…I thought it was confirmation that is the formal entrance to the “adult faith”.

Thank you for your response. I am glad there are lots of people who can respond to any questions in this forum.
God Bless you,

It has been given that connotation over the last century but when it’s administered to young children you can’t really say that. So, France has come up with a religious ceremony to mark that passage to ‘adulthood’. I suppose if I had to compare the French “Profession de foi” with anything it would be the Jewish Bar Mitzvah. It is not a sacrament in itself although it is accompanied by Communion.

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