The First Communion ceremony is a special Mass during which Catholic children receive the Eucharist for the first time. The ceremony usually follows a similar structure to a regular Mass, but there are some specific elements that are unique to a First Communion Mass. Here’s what typically happens during the First Communion ceremony:
- Introductory Rites: The Mass begins with the introductory rites, including an opening hymn, the sign of the cross, and a greeting from the priest.
- Penitential Rite: The congregation acknowledges their sins and asks for forgiveness in the Penitential Rite.
- Liturgy of the Word: The readings from the Bible are proclaimed and a homily is given by the priest, which is focused on the Eucharist and the significance of receiving it for the first time.
- Renewal of Baptismal Promises: The congregation renews their baptismal promises, affirming their belief in the Catholic faith.
- Presentation of Candidates: The candidates for First Communion are presented to the congregation by their parents or guardians.
- Eucharistic Prayer: The priest offers the Eucharistic Prayer, during which the bread and wine are consecrated and become the body and blood of Christ.
- Communion Rite: The children receive their First Communion, while the rest of the congregation also receives Communion. The children may receive a special blessing or be recognized individually.
- Concluding Rites: The Mass concludes with the concluding rites, including a final blessing, a dismissal, and a recessional hymn.
After the Mass, families often gather for a celebration or reception, where the children may receive gifts and congratulations from family and friends.