No Ordinary Meal

This poster got me reflecting on how we catechize about the Eucharist and invisible things in general.  I think it is very common to want to connect the Eucharist to what we all know – a family meal.  Yes, in a certain sense it is like a family meal because we gather each Sunday to a a community of faith to participate in the Holy Mass.  However, it is much more: It is the Sacrifice of Christ on the Cross being made present.  As I’ve heard it said before “It’s the same old miracle that happens each time Mass is celebrated”.  This heavenly banquet is ever new and ever fresh.  We have the opportunity as Catholics and as catechists to live our earthly lives anticipating the pledge of our future glory (cf. CCC 1402-1405).  This is no ordinary reality happening at each Mass, but we’ve come so accustom to it and live in a culture that seeks to enliven the senses to no end that the divine exchange that occurs is often overlooked or taken for granted.

Catechetical Takaway

I just have one takaway that I’d like to share:

Seek to impress upon those you are catechizing that the God of the universe is constantly seeking to draw our hearts and minds into his reality of holiness and life.  The things of this world- the signs and symbols that this world offers and our Church uses are meant to connect us to what only the eyes of faith can see clearly (Cf. 1 Cor. 13:12).  It is no less real just visible through a different lens.

A Prayer for Faith

Lord Jesus, eternal and infallible Truth, since Thou hast said that Thou art really present in the holy Eucharist, I believe it firmly. Yes, this Host which I see, and which I am to receive, is not bread, but the living Body of Jesus Christ, God and Man: it is the God Whom the Angels adore in heaven; I believe it. I do not understand this Mystery, but I wish to believe it without seeking to penetrate it, that I may have the happiness of seeing and contemplating it one day in heaven. Strengthen it so lively, that I may honour Thee, love Thee, and receive Thee, as if I already beheld Thee.


As I get ready to have a parent meeting for First Communion here are some practical suggestions for parents as they help their child prepare for this most significant event/encounter – their First Holy Communion.

Practical Ways to Help Your Child Prepare for their First Communion

 

      1. Go to Sunday Mass with your children. Nothing is more important!

        1. Talk about what went on at Mass.
        2. Share how special it is to receive Jesus.
        3. Make Mass important and a valuable experience & not merely a “gotta go and get it done for the day” experience.
        4. Pray a special prayer daily as they prepare.
        5. Take the time to really go through the assignments…make them a special time.

a. Establish a weekly time

b. Show enthusiasm

c. Take the time to be thorough

6. Make visits to the Blessed Sacrament

a. Come early to Mass (or stay after) and pray before the Blessed Sacrament

b. Spend time in the Adoration Chapel

7.  When passing by a Catholic Church make the sign of the cross and/or say a prayer with your child.

   8. Talk about how God is working in your life and what the Eucharist means to you.

a. Share your experience

b. Of your First Communion (have grandparents and aunts & uncles share their experiences).

c. Of how receiving Eucharist every week impacts your life and helps you grow in your relationship with Christ.

d. Read a book on the Eucharist.

9. Help your child to know how to pray after Communion.

10. Make it a priority to eat dinner together as a family.  This helps them understand more clearly how the Eucharist is the family meal of the Church.

11. Pray regularly for a greater love of Christ who is truly present in the Eucharist.  For example: Jesus, as I prepare for my First Communion please help me love you more and do your will.               

12. Have them write a letter to Jesus or to journal over these next couple months.

Please share your suggestions on how parents can help prepare their children.


LIFE TEEN has done a great job helping teens understand some of the Mass changes.  Check out the following videos. I think you’ll find these a very valuable resource.

Word for Word [Teens] from Life Teen on Vimeo.

Here is a video LIFE TEEN put out for youth ministers:

New Roman Missal for Youth Ministers – Word for Word by Life Teen from Life Teen on Vimeo.


A couple of weeks ago our second grade parents who’s child is preparing for their First Holy Communion were invited to participate in one of the regular Wednesday night classes with their child.  Here is the outline of the night:

1. Children brought their parents to their regular classroom for an opening prayer service (and usual housekeeping things).

2. All the 2nd grade classes came to a large gathering area where parents interacted with their child doing the following (I was the MC helping facilitate and transition):

a. They looked up First Communion related Scripture verses and then shared with the whole group (I called upon volunteers) what they had discovered.

b. Parents worked with their child on a letter to Jesus expressing their excitement of approaching the day of their First Communion.

c. Everyone participated in a re-enactment of the Last Summer (we had matzah bread and grape juice and a script at each table).

This class allows for parents to be a part of their child’s First Communion preparations.  I hope parents are doing things at home to prepare and assist their child’s faith formation.  This opportunity which I do once during their First Reconciliation preparation and once before First Communion is always a way to give parents the opportunity to come together with other parents to continue their child’s preparations.

If you want any additional information about this class please feel free to email me at woleary@kcascension.org

What do you do in your parish to involve parents as their child prepares for First Communion?


A Dinner Like No Other

Imagine this dinner…the “Last” Supper that these 12 men (11 before the end of the dinner) would have with their Lord, Master and friend, Jesus Christ.  He gave them something truly incredible – His very self.  It was their First Holy Communion.  They experienced a communion not only of being in His presence, as they had been for 3 years, but they now celebrated and encountered Him by receiving Him and becoming living tabernacles filled with God.  I can barely get my head around it – Jesus Christ is present in the flesh of His body and in the flesh under the disguise of bread and wine at the same time.  At the Last Supper, He is giving His total self to them and will physically do the same the day after this amazing paschal meal.

First Communion Then and Now

Thousands of new Catholics (fully initiated into the Church) will receive their First Communion this Easter Vigil and thousands of 2nd graders over the next two months.  The miracle of the Eucharist, of simple bread and wine that are transformed into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ will come into the lives of so many in a new, more complete manner as they not only take and receive but encounter their divine savior filling them with nothing less than God’s very self.  No greater love, no greater wonder then this!

The Apostles didn’t have any gift giving and party after their First Communion but their memory of that Last Supper was never forgotten and transformed them beyond their wildest imaginations.

Thank you Jesus for giving us yourself so that we can be more fully transformed and one with you.   May we be changed beyond our wildest imaginations every time we encounter you in Holy Communion, Amen.