The Holy Eucharist 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.
In reading The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), Christ is always present in his Church, especially in the sacraments. “At the Last Supper, on the night he was betrayed, our Savior instituted the Eucharistic sacrifice of his Body and Blood. This he did in order to perpetuate the sacrifice of the cross throughout the ages until he should come again, and so to entrust to his beloved spouse, the Church, a memorial of his death and resurrection: a sacrament of love, a sign of unity, a bond of charity, a Paschal banquet ‘in which Christ is consumed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us’” (CCC #1323).
First Communion for a child (at least seven years old and in second grade) usually takes place on the first or second Sunday in May of each year.
At this time a child—after due preparation—is mature enough to receive the Eucharist—the Body and Blood of Christ—for the first time.
This is also a special spiritual experience for parents who are expected to be actively involved in the preparation program.
Direct preparation for First Communion begins the previous September, but indirect preparation begins with the family’s practice of the faith, attending regular weekend Mass, participating in the life of the parish, and educating their children at Cathedral School.