A Celebration for All: First Holy Communion and the Parish

First Communion invitations - scrolls

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.

First Communion invitation - details

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?

About Shannon Chisholm 15 Articles
Shannon Chisholm is a Ph.D. candidate in Religious Education at Fordham University. Over the years, Shannon has ministered as both a catechist and Director of Faith Formation. She is currently serving as a catechist at Holy Family Parish in New Rochelle, NY. She holds a BA and MA in Theology from the University of Notre Dame. When she isn’t daydreaming about lesson plans for her second-grade class, Shannon enjoys spending time with her family, discovering new coffee shops, and cheering on the Fighting Irish.


  1. When I became coordinator 6 years ago I combined the Crowning of the Blessed Mother which had never been done at this parish with the parish’ celebration of the First Communion children. I hang their banners from their First Communion around the church for the parishioners to look at. Then made signs with the titles of the Blessed Mother laminated them put them on dowels and decorated with artificial flowers and ribbons hanging down. All the First Communion children either carry a sign or a marigold “Mary’s gold” flowers into Mass then we al process out and one child crowns the Blessed Mother and lay the flowers before the statue.

  2. We’re very fortunate that we always celebrate First Communion during the regular 10:00 AM Mass. The First Communicants and their families are greeters at the doors which the children love. During the Profession of Faith, the children stand up front and say this along with the parishioners. It’s a wonderful day.

  3. With the size of our program and the busy schedules of our families, we let them choose a regular Mass in the first 3 weekends of May limiting each time slot to 16 children. Each family gets a reserved pew for the children’s friends and family. The students process in with the priest and the altar servers and sit with their families. When the time comes, the priest and a Eucharistic Minister come to the end of the pews to give the child their First Communion. This way they have the immediate support of their family who is right next to them (great for pictures!), there is no performance anxiety for the students and the whole parish gets to participate at multiple Masses welcoming these children receiving their First Communion. Added bonus is that many of the family members and friends who don’t attend Sunday Mass get to experience not only the First Communion but see the whole parish as a welcoming body at a Sunday Mass while Father works his homily magic!

  4. Our parish has both the ‘traditional’ group FHC on the 1st Saturday in May or families may choose to have their child make their FHC at a selected regular 12:30 Sunday Mass. Depending on the number of children to make FHC our DRE schedules several 12:30 FHC where 15-30 children sit where their families but do process in and out as a group and go up to receive the Eucharist first.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.