Should I invite non-Catholic family to First Communion?


#1

My sister and her family have left the Catholic Church for one of those “mega-churches.” We have had discussions when she left, some of them heated, and it seems her views are anti-Catholic. The problem that is arising now is that my seven-year-old will be receiving his First Communion next month. I was thinking of only inviting those who share our beliefs, who know and understand what an important day this is for our son. Thinking back to my own First Communion, I remember having a large party and receiving a lot of money.

For my son, I was hoping for it to be more intimate and personal, and unfortunately would think that wouldn’t include those who hold a different belief. My sister left the Church after her oldest received her First Communion, so her youngest have never had theirs. I would be afraid what she might explain to the girls as it being just “symbolic”; so I was thinking of not inviting them for the girls’ own sake as well as my son’s. Am I wrong to not invite them?


#2

While I wouldn’t say it is “wrong” not to invite them – theoretically, you have the right to invite anyone you like and not invite whomever you please – I would say that it would be vastly imprudent not to do so and likely to be seriously injurious to your future relationship with your sister and her family. Here’s why:

First Communion is a family event, and, whatever her beliefs now, your sister will know this. To not invite her to a family event is to tell her by your actions that you no longer consider her family. You can’t possibly hope to have much of a relationship with her and her family if you give them such a snub.

You are not responsible for how your sister explains Communion to her children; you are only responsible for your son’s understanding of the Eucharist. I doubt that she is likely to tell your son at the event that Communion is only symbolic, but, if she does, you can excuse yourself and him, tell him quietly, “We’ll talk about it later,” and then set him straight later in private. You can also tell her later, outside of the children’s hearing, that you would prefer that she leave to you the religious education of your son.


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