Sunday, 8 June 2008

Preparing for First Holy Communion

This morning twenty children from the parish who are preparing to receive Holy Communion for the first time came together for their last session. Over the last few months they have met many times as they prepared for first confession and then first Communion. Their parents have also been meeting regularly, to help them in their task of preparing the children at home.

This year the preparation has not followed a published course; instead, the Cathedral catechists and priests have devised a programme under the title 'My Lord and my God'. This title is taken from the words of St Thomas when he saw the Lord and no longer doubted; it is also a prayer which people often say at the consecration at Mass. We are invited, like Thomas, to doubt no longer, but to believe that the Lord is truly present in the Eucharist.

Yesterday the children and their parents came together for a joint preparation session. They talked about the dismissal at Mass; how we are to 'love and serve the Lord' in the week ahead, and how we must take the gift of Christ to others in our lives. Outside, they made some pot plants as a reminder of the need to care for and thank God for the whole of creation.

Each family also wrote a pledge. As we receive the gift of Jesus in Holy Communion, we are asked to respond to His gift by doing more out of love for God and for each other. The pledges are a sign of the families' commitment to do more in response to God's gift. The children also learnt of the famous saying of St Teresa of Avila: 'Christ has no body on earth but yours'. In receiving the Body of Christ we are called to do His will on earth.

Cards were prepared for some of the sick and housebound of the parish, who will be asked to pray for the children in the weeks ahead. The children have learnt that many housebound people receive communion at home, so much do they value the Lord's gift to us. The children will receive Holy Communion for the first time next Sunday. Please remember them in your prayers.