What Is First Communion and Why Is It So Important?

Regardless of your religious affiliation, First Communion is a big event for many Catholics. It often comes with a celebration — and even if you’re not Catholic, you might be invited to attend or celebrate a child’s First Communion or asked to give them a First Communion gift. It’s an honor to be included in such an event, so let’s talk a bit more about First Communion and its importance in a Catholic child’s life! 

girls holding communion candles

What Is First Communion?

Simply put, First Communion is the first time a Catholic child can attend communion with the rest of the church. In the Catholic faith, there are many rules and regulations about who can receive communion, also known as the Eucharist. Because many children can’t receive communion until they’re about age 7 or 8, many families and Catholic churches will hold special First Communion days each year or have celebrations to commemorate their First Communion. 

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Communion is known amongst Christian circles as the symbolism of Christ’s death on the cross after persecution from the Romans. Traditionally, the pastor or some other religious personnel with the church will break a loaf of bread, symbolizing the body of Christ, and drink wine or grape juice, symbolizing the blood of Christ. They usually pray over the food and drink, and members of the church will accept a piece of bread and sip some juice. In the Catholic church, this is often from the same loaf of bread and goblet of wine. In modern times, portions are individualized for hygienic purposes. This was especially important during the Covid pandemic, where the virus would spread through droplets passed by speaking, singing, eating or drinking. Many Catholic churches modified their communion rituals as a way to accommodate the distancing needs. However, the purpose for communion stayed the same — honoring Christ’s sacrifice on the cross for the sins of the rest of the world. 

communion cup

Why Is First Communion Important? 

Because children can’t accept communion, their first time joining is a big deal. Many of the children participating in First Communion have completed additional rites and rituals, such as the First Reconciliation. There’s usually classes involved, and is just another step closer to Confirmation, where a child officially joins the Catholic faith and becomes part of the Catholic church. 

Many people often ask why children can’t accept communion. There’s a lot of discourse about this. Some religious scholars claim that children under a certain age are free of sin, therefore, they don’t need to accept Christ’s sacrifice. This goes back to passages in the Bible where Jesus speaks about children and their innocence in the world. Regardless of the why, First Communion is an important event for Catholic children and their families all over the world! 

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How to Celebrate First Communion

If you’ve been invited to a First Communion celebration, then you might be expected to attend mass with the family. If you are not a confirmed Catholic, then you cannot accept the Eucharist; however, you can receive a blessing from the priest. After mass, you can expect to either go to the family’s house or out to eat. There’s one other important part of a First Communion, though — the gifts. Here are some of the best gifts to give a child who’s just experienced their First Communion! 

beautifully wrapped small gift

    • Jewelry: Jewelry is commonly given as a First Communion gift for girls to celebrate their first time accepting the Eucharist. We offer a variety of personalized rings, bracelets, earrings and necklaces that are perfect for girls receiving their First Communion. You can engrave their name or year of their First Communion to make the gift more personal.
  • A stuffed animal: Even though First Communion is just one of the many events that symbolize a child’s next steps into adulthood, a stuffed animal is still a great First Communion gift to give them. They can simply put it on a bookshelf to commemorate the event if they feel they’re too old to use it. Stuffed animals are great to give with other gifts, too, such as jewelry or even photographs. 
  • An engraved photo frame: Since First Communion is such a special event, many also have professional photos taken of their children to commemorate it. An engraved photo frame is the perfect First Communion gift for boys

A rosary: Catholics use rosaries to pray with, so why not get a child their very own personalized rosary to use now that they’ve taken their First Communion? It can be personalized with their birthstone, name or even date of their First Communion.

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