Eucharist is the source and summit of our Christian life. A great gift and food for the journey. Preparing a child to receive the Body and Blood of Christ for the first time is an important step in living up to the promises parents made at the time of the child’s Baptism.
What Catholics Believe About Eucharist
It is important to understand just what Catholics believe about Eucharist. This video is a great introduction.
Eucharist a Community Event
Sacraments are community events. We celebrate them within the Catholic community. As members of that community we share a number of common beliefs. They are summarised in the Apostle’s Creed. This video is an illustrated recitation of the Apostles Creed.
Learning About Mass
My Picture Missal App was developed for young children to help them learn, understand, and fully experience Mass. It leads the user through the parts of the Mass.
You can also play a “guess what comes next” game, revealing icons in order one by one. It is provides a great tool to teach and pray together.
Available from i-tunes it costs $3.99.
Have Fun Learning
A free Catholic trivia game with 500 multiple choice questions. References for answers are gathered from Canon Law, Scripture, history, the Catechism of the Catholic Church and other sources. Get a correct answer and the pope applauds. Get an incorrect answer and a nun smacking a ruler appears. A little too cliche, but the questions are fair and on a wide variety of subjects. This game helps brush up your knowledge of many of the finer points of our Catholic faith as well as basic elements.
Parents as Catechists
“Do you believe in God?” the catechist asked.
The child replied, “Yes!”
“Why do you believe in God?”
The child thought a moment, “I don’t know why. I think it runs in the family.”
Your child is grows up in an atmosphere where believing, knowing and experiencing God simply runs in the family. You as a family bring them forward to prepare for Confirmation and First Communion. Being Catholic is part of your everyday life, and there are lots of ways you can prepare your child for Confirmation and First Eucharist:
- Realise that you already have been preparing your child for Confirmation and First Communion since the day he or she was born. Eucharist is about the absolute love God has for us. The ways you have loved, cared and asked for forgiveness speak towards your unconditional love of our God.
Our most intimate experiences of God’s presence with us often occur within everyday moments; interactions and relationships of family life. The challenge is that sometimes we are so busy that we miss these precious moments. Family life is holy and sacred, and that is where God is.
- Talk together – tell stories about your times you have shared with God. Use scripture stories or the wonderful children’s literature. Answer their questions, even the ones they’re not asking!
- Stress the connection of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist. Get out your photo albums and recall your child’s Baptism. Unpack the baptismal garment and share its history: when and where you bought it, who made it and even who else wore it.
- Celebrate the liturgical seasons at home: Advent wreaths, putting up the crib, reading scripture stories, celebrating baptismal anniversaries, talking about family members’ baptism, first Communion photos, etc. For ideas go to the Family Faith section of the website.
- Put a little extra into family meals (they have a big connection to Eucharist!). Let your child decorate the table for an evening meal. Talk with them about special meals your family has shared.
- Pray as a family on a consistent basis and integrate it as a natural part of family life. Good times to pray as a family are, mealtimes, bedtimes, happy times, worrisome times, after an argument, when someone is in trouble and always on special occasions (Birthdays, baptismal days, first day of school, etc.).
- Make Mass a family event. Sit near the front and point out one or two things each week for your child to watch for. Talk about the homily on the way home. Before liturgy, talk with your family about who you want to pray for during the Prayer of the Faithful and what you want to thank God for during the Eucharistic Prayer.
- Grow together in appreciation of God’s Word. On Saturday evenings, read the scriptures you will hear at Mass. What is God saying to your family this weekend?
- The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us the Eucharist commits us to the poor (#1397.) Together fix a meal for a neighbour in need, sort through toys and clothing as gifts to the poor, visit a nursing home or donate to a charitable donation.
- Keep first Communion first. It should be just what we call it: first. Don’t put so much emphasis on this one. It’s important because it is the first of many, the first of a lifetime of coming to the table.
In reality, most of these suggestions are not just about preparation for Confirmation and first Communion, they are about living in the beauty of the Catholic family.