Communion, or Eucharist, is first and foremost Christ drawing near to us in the grace of sacrament. When we bring our children to the Mass, we affirm our desire for them to grow in faith as Catholics. As they grow older, it is natural for our children to develop a deep and loving relationship with Jesus. At the Eucharist, we remember the great love of God and Jesus’ saving grace; His life, death and resurrection, which brings us new life. We give thanks for the grace of the sacrament and the promise of full unity with God. At Mass, we offer God gifts of bread and wine. God returns our gifts of bread and wine as Jesus. The Eucharist is truly a remarkable and special gift from our Lord.
In order to participate in First Holy Eucharist in the Archdiocese of Chicago, a child over the age of seven must first prepare for and receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. This means that "First Communion" classes really incorporate two sacraments: the healing sacrament of Reconciliation and the community sacrament of First Communion.
Prior to this very important year, children over the age of seven must have received a year of general instruction in their Catholic faith. This means that the child attends class regularly and seems generally prepared to move forward into the sacramental year. He or she should have good knowledge of basic prayers, such as the Our Father, the Hail Mary, and the Glory Be, as well as regular attendance at Mass.
Children enrolled in Grades 1 and 2 will receive the necessary sacramental preparation during their Children's Faith Formation sessions. First Holy Communion regularly takes place in late April or early May.