Last year was my first solo direction of the liturgy for children receiving First Holy Communion. At my parish, this Mass is not part of our regular weekend liturgies. This gave me the ability to ensure that every child had a role. Although we celebrated two beautiful liturgies, I felt that they were lacking a critical element: the involvement of the entire parish.
This year I have been trying to reinforce that our celebration of First Holy Communion is a celebration for the whole community. We are the Body of Christ; we all rejoice when we receive new members into our community. The excitement that my students have for this sacrament is shared not only by their families, but by everyone in the universal Church. My students missed this lesson last year because they received the sacrament with only their closest family and friends in attendance. This year I hope to attract more members of our parish to join the celebration of First Holy Communion. This is a great way to support some of our community’s youngest members, and it is a beautiful sign of the unity of the Church.
My plan is to start simple. I hope that a simple invitation will be enough to encourage some of our parishioners to join us when we celebrate First Holy Communion. I have designed a simple invitation with the dates and times of the Masses, which I printed and cut out. About a month before they receive First Holy Communion, the children will color and decorate these invitations during class. Once decorated to the child’s liking, the student will roll the invitation around a pencil and place a small rubber band around it to ensure it doesn’t unravel. The children will then finish off the project by tying a piece of ribbon around the invitation with my help and the help of the other catechists.
My pastor and I have selected a Mass about a month before the children receive their First Holy Communion to distribute the invitations. My pastor will incorporate this message into his homily, and he will invite the students to pass out their invitations to those in the congregation.
I am hoping that this gesture will help the rest of our community feel welcomed at our Masses celebrating First Holy Communion and encourage them to join us for these beautiful celebrations.
How do you invite members of your parish community to celebrate First Holy Communion with your faith formation classes and their families?