Why Do We Give Money on First Communions?

A few days ago, I posted about the Easter Season being a “festival of sacraments.” Well, today is one such day as we celebrate my nephew’s First Communion. It is a beautiful bright and sunny spring day…a “storybook” First Communion-type day. Of course the weather has nothing to do with the encounter with Jesus in the Eucharist, but God IS revealed through the beauty and wonder of creation and the nice weather serves to reinforce the reality of God’s presence that is revealed most wonderfully in the Eucharist.

We’ll be gathering at my brother’s home to celebrate my nephew’s First Communion…an opportunity to show him how happy we all are that this day has arrived. Then, of course, we will all engage in the strange ritual of giving him cards containing money. I never quite understand this part of the “ritual” in our culture and I’ve often wanted to opt out of it and present a gift that is more spiritual. At the same time, I understand the reality that, if I did so, a young child can draw the conclusion that “Uncle Joey is cheap” and doesn’t love me as much as so-and-so who gave me $xx.” So I don’t fight it. The important thing is that he knows how much we love him and how meaningful this day is to him and to us.

Congratulations to all those celebrating First Communions and to all those catechists who prepared them!

About Joe Paprocki 2769 Articles
Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press, where, in addition to his traveling/speaking responsibilities, he works on the development team for faith formation curriculum resources including Finding God: Our Response to God’s Gifts and God’s Gift: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Joe has more than 35 years of experience in ministry and has presented keynotes, presentations, and workshops in more than 100 dioceses in North America. Joe is a frequent presenter at national conferences including the Los Angeles Religious Education Congress, the Mid-Atlantic Congress, and the National Conference for Catechetical Leadership. He is the author of numerous books, including the best seller The Catechist’s Toolbox, A Church on the Move, Under the Influence of Jesus, and Called to Be Catholic—a bilingual, foundational supplemental program that helps young people know their faith and grow in their relationship with God. Joe is also the series editor for the Effective Catechetical Leader and blogs about his experiences in faith formation at www.catechistsjourney.com.

3 Comments on Why Do We Give Money on First Communions?

  1. I found myself reflecting on the same things a couple weeks ago, with the first communion of a friend’s son. I finally decided (rationalized?) that it’s a way of making a connection for kids that these sacramental occasions really are a “big thing” in terms they understand. For good or ill, in our culture, money has become the way we express that. It’s good to know I’m not the only one thinking about these things.

  2. Diane, sure enough, at my nephew’s party, as he opened cards, he calmly gazed at checks and bills mostly in the $20 range. Then, his eyes bugged out as he saw a check that stood out (not mine) and he shouted, “SEVENTY-FIVE DOLLARS!!!” It was clear to him who loves him most! Some folks gave cash as well as a religious article which is a nice touch.

  3. I can see getting money for a birthday but my daughter had her first communion and it would be nice to get cards from our family to help us celebrate. I don’t feel we needed money. I felt a little bad because we went out to eat and I felt nice eating with our family but they gave her cards that basically paid for the dinner which I felt defeated my purpose of sharing a nice meal for them?

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