First Holy Communion

The Sacrament, First Communion marks becoming a fully participating member of the church. People, usually children, are put through a formal religious educational program in preparation of receiving the host. In the Catholic Church, children are usually given their first communion around the ages of seven or eight.

About the Eucharist

Holy Communion is also known as the Eucharist, from a Greek word meaning thanksgiving. In all Christian religions, the act of giving and receiving communion is symbolic of the bread Jesus shared with his followers at his last supper. There have been many ways and traditions of celebrating communion, most choose to wait until children are at an age of reason, or right from wrong. It is also important the child is old enough to grasp the meaning and understand the story of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

Preparing the Child

Before receiving Communion, children are given instructions about what is involved. In Ireland, typically instructions are given to the children at school. It is important that the parent fully understand what the school is teaching the child so the preparation can be reinforced harmoniously at home and at school. It is a good idea to discuss the parts of the mass again with your child. At each age, the child begins to understand more spiritually the purpose of the mass. The meaning of communion varies with each religion, but it is important that the child understand each time communion is taken, it is symbolizing Christ’s last supper. We’ve heard from some parents who have found it very helpful to act out at home what happened at the last supper. Some have gone as far as setting up stuffed animals with the names of the apostles taped to them and acting out the last supper. Children will be more apt to understand what happened at the last supper and carry that understanding into their first communion. We welcome all stories about a child’s First Communion to be shared with our readers.


First Holy Communion receptions can also be as formal or informal as the parents see fit. Some find it easiest to provide tea and cake, or snacks and drinks, or a buffet brunch. These are ways to continue the celebration of the day and spend time with family and friends after the child makes their First Communion. Other parents feel it appropriate to put on a formal dinner. This is usually served in courses and can be served by the parents, grandparents, or godparents of the child. Some godparents honour the child by inviting the family and friends to a restaurant or pub for dinner.


First Communion blessings can be said as a prayer at the reception, or inscribed on a gift for the child. We have listed our favorites below.

An Old Celtic Blessing For Your First Communion Day
May the blessing of light be on you
light without and light within.
May the blessed sunlight shine on you
and warm your heart
till it glows like a great peat fire.

An Irish Prayer
For Your First Communion Day
May God give you…
For every storm, a rainbow,
For every tear, a smile,
For every care, a promise,
And a blessing in each trial.
For every problem life sends,
A faithful friend to share,
For every sigh, a sweet song,
And an answer for each prayer.

A Wish for a Friend
For Your First Communion Day
Wishing you a rainbow
For sunlight after showers;
Miles and miles of Irish smiles
For golden happy hours;
Shamrocks at your doorway
For luck and laughter too,
And a host of friends that never ends
Each day your whole life through!

An Irish Blessing
For Your First Communion Day

May the road rise to meet you,
may the wind be always at your back,
may the sun shine warm upon your face,
the rains fall soft upon your fields and,
until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

An Irish Blessing
For Your First Holy Communion
May God grant you always
A sunbeam to warm you
A moonbeam to charm you
A sheltering angel so nothing can harm you
Laughter to cheer you
Faithful friends near you
And whenever you pray
Heaven to hear you.

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