First Communion: So much more than an Opportunity to Play Dress Up

| April 18, 2017

First Communion: So much more than an Opportunity to Play Dress Up

 

What is the meaning of a First Communion? As I was walking home to my apartment in Spain a few weeks ago, I saw an advertisement that made me question my understanding of the Eucharist and how Catechism prepares Catholics, especially children to receive it.  A sign hanging outside of a beauty shop, offering little girls special discounts for their hair, makeup, and nails on the day of their First Communion indicated to me that the blessed sacrament is viewed much more as a “coming out” party or a Quinceanera than the first time that a child receives the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.

 

It made me wonder: Are we adequately preparing children to receive the Eucharist?
This sign indicates a profound lack of understanding of the Eucharist; it is so much more than an opportunity for little girls to play dress up. The Eucharist, according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, is the “Source and Summit of Ecclesial Life” and the reception of the First Communion “Completes Christian initiation. Those who have been raised to the dignity of the royal priesthood by Baptism and configured more deeply to Christ by Confirmation participate with the whole community in the Lord’s own sacrifice by means of the Eucharist.” The excitement that surrounds a child making his or her First Communion is understandable, but the secondary things like fancy white dresses and family photos should never overshadow or even be a replacement for reverence of the Eucharist.