St. Benedict Parish
First Eucharist Program
Registration Form 2012-2013
To be filled out now. Please Print:
Date of Birth: ____/____/____/ Current Age: _____ Phone # ____________________
Grade: _______ School Attending: ______________________________
Father’s Name: ______________________________
Mother’s Name: ______________________________
Emergency Phone Number: ______________________________
Email Address: ______________________________
Parish to which you belong: ______________________________
Church of Baptism: ______________________________
_____ City/State: _______________
If a candidate was not Baptized at St. Benedict’s, a Baptismal Certificate must
be submitted to the Office of Faith Formation as soon as possible.
Please return registration form to:
St. Benedict’s Office of Faith Formation
3980 Main Street
Amherst, N.Y. 14226
St. Benedict Parish
First Eucharist Program
General Information: The Eucharist is "the source and summit of the Christian life." "The other sacraments, and indeed all ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate, are bound up with the Eucharist and are oriented toward it. For in the blessed Eucharist is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself, our Pasch."
Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1324
Students in the third grade are invited to receive the sacrament of Holy Communion in May of 2013 if they have successfully completed the First Eucharist Sacramental Program.
Pray: Prayer is an essential part of preparation for the sacrament. Parents are asked to ensure their child attends mass each Sunday, and holy days of obligation, not only in the year prior to their child’s receiving Holy Communion for the first time, but until they reach adulthood. The Eucharist is a central expression of Christian worship and faith. Parents must think long term. We are not just preparing our children to receive the Eucharist for the first time, we are also (and more importantly) preparing our children for a lifelong pilgrimage of faith and how to find the food that will nourish them on The Way.
Register: Parents and Students are asked to register for the formal preparation program through the Office of Faith Formation.
Baptismal Record: All candidates are required to show proof of Baptism. If Candidates were baptized we will have the records on file in the parish office. Candidates who were baptized at a parish other than St. Benedict’s need to provide a copy of the original certificate. Please provide a copy as soon as possible.
Parent Meeting: Wednesday, October 10th, 7:00 P.M. St. Benedict’s Cafeteria
For all second grade students from Catholic and Public High schools.
Enrollment Mass: Children preparing to make their first Eucharist are expected to attend the 10:00 A.M. mass Sunday, November 18, 2011. They will be called forward to the front of the church to receive a special blessing from Fr. Joe to mark the beginning of their preparation for the Sacrament of Holy Communion.
First Eucharist Parent: April 10th at 7:00 PM in the school cafeteria.
Eucharist Mini-retreat: Saturday, April 20th, from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM in the afternoon n the school cafeteria.
First Holy Communion: Candidates will receive their First Eucharist, Saturday, May 4th, at noon in Church.
Second Holy Communion: We ask families to return with their child on Sunday to receive their second Holy Communion at the 10 AM mass. We ask that children dress in their first communion clothing and process into mass as part of our May Crowning celebration.
St. Benedict Parish
Parent Services Form
We invite parent involvement. Please select the way(s) you would be willing to help.
Parents are welcome to sit in and join the conversation in your child’s Religious Education classes or assist with the Eucharist Mini-Retreat.
Organize and schedule families to contribute food and drink. Plan and organize food and drink contributions for the Retreat meals and snacks.
Will provide food for Sunday morning session and the Retreat.
Develop and execute a plan to have the church community pray for each child individually.
Committee(s) on which I (we) will serve:
___ Food Committee
___ Food Provider
___ Prayer Committee
SACRAMENT OF EUCHARIST FOR THE FIRST TIME
For children at the age of reason, (usually 7 yrs. old and older).
Each part of the preparation process provides opportunities for families to share their experiences and reflect on their journey of faith. The process involves parents recognizing they are the most important teachers in their children's lives.
Preparation process includes:
Children's Interview and Practice
Celebration of the Sacrament takes place at noon on Saturday, May 4th, 2012.
How do you know when your child is ready to make his/her First Communion?
Preparing for First Communion is an initiation process for baptized children. Parents know their children the best and they are aware of the home environment created to develop a faith relationship with God. Each day offers an opportunity for the family to become more aware of God's presence and grace in their lives.
Usually, children prepare for Eucharist for the first time around the age of seven. It is important that they have a sufficient knowledge and careful preparation so as to understand the mystery of Christ according to their capacity. For seven year olds, the process begins at home and is supported by formal Religious Formation programs.
It is helpful to understand that each child around the age of seven develops at his or her own pace but, there are some general attitudes, values, and ways of thinking that operate different from those of an adult. At this age, children are eager to belong. They want to be accepted and recognized as part of the family and if participating at Mass, as part of the worship community. Their religious sense is strong especially their sense of awe and wonder at the world around them. Their faith can best be describes as relying heavily on the stories, rules and values of the family and faith community to which they belong.
As a faith community, we have a responsibility to model, support and encourage our young children to become increasingly more loving and justice seeking Christians.
The Eucharist is the heart and summit of the Church's life, for in it Christ associates his Church and all her members with his sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving offered once for all on the cross to his Father; by this sacrifice he pours out the graces of salvation on his Body, which is the Church.
The Eucharistic celebration always includes the proclamation of the Word of God; thanksgiving to God the Father for all his befits, above all the gift of his Son; the consecration of bread and wine; and participation in the liturgical banquet by receiving the Lord's body and blood.
The Eucharist is the memorial of Christ's Passover, that is, of the work of salvation accomplished by the life, death, and resurrection of Christ. It is Christ himself acting through the ministry of the priests, offers the Eucharistic sacrifice. And it is the same Christ, really present under the species of bread and wine, who is the offering of the Eucharistic sacrifice.
Anyone who desires to receive Christ in Eucharistic communion must be in a state of grace. Anyone aware of having sinned mortally must not receive communion without having received absolution in the sacrament of penance.
Communion with the Body and Blood of Christ increases the communicant's union with the Lord, forgives his venial sins, and preserves him from grave sins. Since receiving this sacrament strengthens the bonds of charity between the communicant and Christ, it also reinforces the unity of the Church as the Mystical Body of Christ.
From: Catechism of the Catholic Church for the United States of America © 1994, United States Catholic Conference, Inc. and Inside Catholicism: Rituals and Symbols Revealed, by Richard P. McBrien, 1995
For generations of Catholic children, First Communion has been a memorable first encounter with the sacramental presence of Christ.
White clothing: The theme of purification in preparation for the sacrament is reflected in wearing white, the color of purity and innocence. White is also the color of the baptismal garment.
The Last Supper: The Passover seder that Jesus celebrated with his closest followers, was also the First Communion.
Holy Communion, because by this sacrament we unite ourselves to Christ, who makes us sharers in his Body and Blood to form a single body.
"Do this in memory of me" asks us not only to remember but to repeat Jesus' actions and words "until he comes".
The Offertory: From the very beginning Christians have brought, along with the bread and wine for the Eucharist, gifts to share with those in need. This custom of the collection, ever appropriate, is inspired by the example of Christ who became poor to make us rich.
Thanksgiving and praise to the Father: The Eucharist is a sacrifice of thanksgiving to the Father, a blessing by which the Church expresses her gratitude to God for all his benefits, for all that he has accomplished through creation, redemption and sanctification. Eucharist means first of all "thanksgiving."
Bread and Wine: Jesus identified himself with the bread and wine. About the bread he said "This is my body which will be given up for you." He called the chalice of wine "The cup of the new and everlasting covenant."
Our daily bread is the Word of God. The miracles of the multiplication of the loaves, when the Lord says the blessing, breaks and distributes the loaves through his disciples to feed the multitude, prefigure the superabundance of this unique bread of his Eucharist.
The sign of water turned into wine at Cana already announces the Hour of Jesus' glorification. Wine is the fruit of the vine gifts of the Creator.
From: Inside Catholicism: Rituals and Symbols Revealed, by Richard P. McBrien, 1995
First Communion History
This is the time of year when many second-graders receive their "first Communion." But it was not always so...
Until about the 13th century, children were admitted to Communion from infancy. At baptism, infants were confirmed, and then given the Eucharist - usually a small amount of the consecrated wine. (The Eastern Rites have continued this practice down to the present day.)
Over the centuries, as disputes arose over the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, there developed a trend toward requiring that children not receive the Eucharist until they had some instruction in the real presence.
In 1215, because Catholics by then received the Eucharist very infrequently, the Lateran Council decreed that all persons who had reached "the age of discretion" receive the sacraments of Penance and Eucharist at least once a year. (This came to be known as "the Easter duty.")
When applied to children, this meant that first Communion was now delayed until they reached the age when they could have an understanding not only of the Eucharist, but of sin and forgiveness. This delayed first Communion until the age of 10, 12, or even 14.
Seven centuries later, in 1910 (less than 100 years ago), Pope Pius X decreed that children should be admitted to first Communion as soon as they could distinguish between the Bread of the Eucharist and ordinary bread. Thus, first Communion was given at about the age of seven.
From The Little Books by Bishop Ken Untener.
Matthew R. Smith
Director of Youth Ministry