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First Communion, Important Things to Understand

                                                           First Communion
                                       Important Things to Understand

Confession isn't the only requirement for receiving the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist; the Sacrament of Baptism must have been received as well. A child, or any person, who has not been baptized cannot receive communion. If the child has been baptized, he or she generally begins studying for First Communion in first grade. Catholic children who don't attend Catholic school go to religious instruction classes after school or on weekends. In most cases for young children, at least two years of religious education must be undertaken before they can receive communion for the first time.

On the day of one's First Communion, and whenever receiving communion thereafter, those who are partaking must fast — which means not eating any food — for at least one hour before receiving the sacrament. Drinking water or taking medicine, however, are exceptions. This type of fasting is called the Eucharistic Fast.


A child's first communion is often a cause for celebration, but to many Catholics, the event has a deeper meaning. They believe that the event means that a child has studied and understood, to the best of his or her ability, what Catholics call the mystery of transubstantiation — the changing of the substance of ordinary bread and wine into the substance of Jesus Christ's body and blood, according to Catholic beliefs. Catholics believe that, before receiving communion, a child also should be able to tell the difference between Eucharistic bread and regular food.


After First Communion, young Catholics must attend church every Sunday, and they are encouraged to receive communion frequently, even weekly.  Most Catholics go to confession at least once a year, usually during Lent — a 40-day observance that typically begins in February or early March and ends in late March or April. 

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