“And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” And likewise the cup after supper, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.” (Luke 22:19-20).
Like all the sacraments of the Catholic Church, the Eucharist is an encounter with Jesus Christ. However, it is the summit of all sacramental encounters with our Lord. The Eucharist is the body and blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ; it is Christ himself. All the sacraments are ordered to it the whole of ecclesial life is ordered around it. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, “the Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life.” (CCC, 1324) LG, 11.
The initiation of children into the sacramental life of the Church is primarily the responsibility and concern of parents (Canon. 890). Parents are the first teachers of their children in the ways of faith. In Baptism, parents accept the responsibility of training their children in the practice of the Faith and to make it “their constant care. As the Church has the task of supporting parents to fulfill this vocational role, the Parish Priest has the responsibility, with the help of catechists, under his guidance, to assist in this essential catechesis.
The parish is the pre-eminent place for catechesis and the whole community is involved in preparing and supporting the children. Parishioners can assist firstly by their Christian witness and secondly by their prayers and expressions of support for these young members of the Church who are progressing in their full initiation into the Catholic Church.
Here at Ealing Abbey, the parish of St Benedict, in conformity with diocesan guidelines, preparation for the sacrament takes place in year three (the year in which the child turns eight years old). Parents are asked to listen to pulpit announcements for enrolment dates. The catechetical sessions for the children take place once a month from September to May for two hours on a Saturday afternoon. Each of these sessions is preceded by a parents’ preparation evening held on the Tuesday or Thursday of the same week
Parents are expected to attend all of the parents’ sessions, so that they can understand the process of preparation that the parish is providing for the children, and to be helped to play their own particular and important part in helping prepare their children for their first and continuing reception of these sacraments. This involvement of the parents’ in the catechesis, and in witnessing to the place of the sacraments in the life of Catholics is regarded as a critically important element in the parish-based preparation for First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion.
The sacrament is celebrated in the month of May and parents are greatly encouraged to help plan the liturgies under the direction of the presiding priest.
Please go to Catholic Life>RCIA for information about being received into the Catholic Church.