The church counselor said that customs accompanying the reception of the First Eucharist, such as giving gifts or organizing a party, are not a bad thing, if they do not obscure the essence of the matter, the sacred nature of the day. KEP’s Catholic Education Committee, Fr. Peter Tomasek.
In May, in most parishes in Poland, children of the third grade of primary school will receive the Sacrament of First Communion.
the father. Tomasek explained that there are three environments involved in preparing a child to receive the First Eucharist: parish, school, and family.
The clergy affirmed that preparing children for First Communion is supported by the Religion Lessons program in grades one to three. He mentioned that during the lessons, children from the first grade of primary school learn about the sacrament of baptism. What does it mean to be a Christian? The second grade shows what a liturgical year looks like and how a Catholic participates in the mysteries of Jesus’ life, while the third grade program is a direct preparation for receiving First Communion.
“The religious education program is structured in such a way as to explain to the child the individual elements of the mass. And to prepare for the first time the sacrament of penance and reconciliation ”- noted the father. Tomasic.
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Preparing for First Communion is not only in schools
The Catholic Education Commission advisor confirmed that parishes are also actively involved in preparing the child for First Communion. “In churches, throughout third grade, there are meetings for children on average once a month. And their essence does not lie in the artistic preparation for the celebration per se, as the spiritual preparation of a child not only to receive the Eucharist for the first time, but afterwards to live the Eucharist as a Catholic,” he said.
According to the father. Tomasik, the most important role in preparing a child is played by the family. “In order to prepare the child well, the parents themselves must live the truths of the faith. That is why the meetings of parents in parishes are held in parallel with the meetings of the boys. The priests explain to them how to talk with the child about the Eucharist. It is a great help for parents,” he said.
He stressed that these meetings aim to introduce them to the mystery of the Eucharist, the essence of which is the presence of the Lord Jesus in the life of man and the church, and entering into the reality of the sacrifice. “First Communion is a really great thing – we accept the Lord Jesus in our hearts and lives. Parents must first understand that for themselves to be able to pass it on to the child.” He noted that it might be a good idea to use the books and films available that can help parents prepare their children for this event.
First Communion in Families
Admit that when parents and godparents themselves do not live by faith, a problem arises. “If the parents do not practice, they will not fully understand what this sacrament is. However, if they decide to send the child to Holy First Communion, it means that they agree to the practice of the child and prepare well for receiving the Eucharist at school and at parish meetings ”, Father. Tomasic.
As he noted, there were cases when the first Holy Communion of a child was a turning point in his spiritual life and an opportunity for conversion for non-practicing parents.
The priest added that the customs accompanying the reception of First Communion, such as giving gifts or organizing a party, should not be mistaken, if they did not obscure the sacred nature of the day.
According to the father’s assessment. Tomasik, a good practice introduced in the parishes is to replace the costumes that parents buy individually with identical ones that are worn by all the children. “Dress solves two problems. First, it prevents your child from focusing too much on the outfit and helps you focus on the substance of the matter. Second, it must be remembered that for First Communion, children prepare themselves in a society where there are both the rich and those with less. Liturgical dress reduces These differences. All are equal in the Church. It is important from an educational point of view.”
According to the father. Tomasek, what can disturb a good first handling experience are “unsuitable gifts”. “Parents should listen to priests calling for religious gifts for their children, such as a Bible, a medal or religious books, on the occasion of the First Communion. This is a good direction,” he noted. He stressed that the godparents were invited to do so.
“You have to explain to the child what this day is about, that it is a religious event. If the child is well prepared, he will be able to understand why he gets different gifts than friends whose parents bought a PlayStation, for example. The problem arises when the parents’ conversations focus on The house is about first communion on reception, gifts and costumes and ignores the spiritual dimension. For gifts such as a smartphone or PlayStation, there will be other occasions, such as birthdays, name days or Children’s Day “, according to his reservation.
In 2020 and 2021, due to the pandemic, the first Communions in the Church in Poland were held in small groups or individually. Data from the Statistics Institute of the Catholic Church show that in 2020, 298 thousand people received the Sacrament of First Communion. Persons. In 2022, communions will be held in the vast majority of parishes in a traditional form, without sanitary restrictions.
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