The Eucharist (from the Greek word meaning thanksgiving) is the sacramental celebration of the Paschal Mystery, Christ's dying and rising for all humankind, for all time. The framework for the sacrament is one of praise and thanks for all that God has done and continues to do.
Christ is present in the Eucharist liturgy in four ways.
- In the Liturgy of the Word Christ speaks to us through the readings from sacred Scripture, most especially in the Gospel.
- The presider (ordained minister) reads the Gospel, interprets it in his homily and leads us in the prayers of the Mass.
- During the Liturgy of the Eucharist the Holy Spirit is called down on the gifts of bread and wine, transforming them into the real Presence of Christ, his Body and Blood.
- The Spirit also transforms the assembly into the Body of Christ, the People of God, that they may continue the work of Christ in the present world.
First Holy Communion is received during the Easter season in Second Grade after the child has satisfactorily completed two years of religious education.
The Sacrament of Eucharist for Second Graders
Parents are involved in the sacrament preparation because the Church views your role as parent in the religious formation of your children as both a privilege and obligation. When you presented your child to the Church for Baptism, you were reminded that you have the responsibility "of training [your child] in the practice of the faith." (Rite of Baptism of Children 77). This obligation and privilege extends to sacrament preparation. All family members are privileged to journey with their children as they prepare for receiving the sacrament of Eucharist.
It is important to remember that it has been within your family that your children have first come to faith. It is within your family setting that your children will continue to live out faith and witness the daily example of Catholic believers.
The Code of Canon Law of the Catholic Church states that children are required to have sufficient knowledge and careful preparation so as to understand the mystery of Christ according to their capacity and so that they receive the Body of the Lord with devotion (Canon 913). This requirement would seem to have two parts:
- First, your child must know that this bread and wine have become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ - that Jesus is truly present.
- Second, your child must have sufficient preparation to allow for reception of the Eucharist with appropriate devotion and reverence.