First Communion is scheduled on Saturday, May 6th. Children also have the option of receiving their First Communion with their family and the parish community at a regularly scheduled Sunday Mass.
Students must be prepared in our Religious Education Program, in one of our neighboring parish schools, or in a Catholic academy. Our two-year program prepares students to receive First Communion when they are in second grade; special classes prepare older students. These preparations include the reception of First Penance on Saturday, January 28th, and the First Communion Retreat.
Ideally, all first Sacraments should be made in the individual’s own parish, but the Archdiocese of Philadelphia permits the pastor to make exceptions for good reason at the request of the parents. Father Paolino will permit students of a neighboring parish school or a Catholic academy to receive First Eucharist with their classmates, if their parents make the request.
Reception of Communion
The following guidelines, approved by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, seek to remind all those who may attend Catholic liturgies of the present discipline of the Church with regard to the sharing of Eucharistic communion.
As Catholics, we fully participate in the cele- bration of the Eucharist when we receive Holy Communion. We are encouraged to receive Communion devoutly and frequently. In order to be properly disposed to receive Communion, participants should not be conscious of grave sin and normally should have fasted for one hour. A person who is conscious of grave sin is not to receive the Body and Blood of the Lord without prior sacramental confession except for a grave reason where there is no opportunity for confession. In this case, the person is to be mindful of the obligation to make an act of perfect contrition, including the intention of confessing as soon as possible (canon 916). A frequent reception of the Sacrament of Penance is encouraged for all.
For our fellow Christians
We welcome our fellow Christians to this celebration of the Eucharist as our brothers and sisters. We pray that our common baptism and the action of the Holy Spirit in this Eucharist will draw us closer to one another and begin to dispel the sad divisions which separate us. We pray that these will lessen and finally disappear, in keeping with Christ’s prayer for us “that they may all be one” (John 17:21).
Because Catholics believe that the celebration of the Eucharist is a sign of the reality of the oneness of faith, life, and worship, members of those churches with whom we are not yet fully united are ordinarily not admitted to Holy Communion. Eucharistic sharing in exceptional circumstances by other Christians requires permission according to the directives of the diocesan bishop and the provision of canon law (cannon 844 § 4). Members of the Orthodox Churches, the Assyrian Church of the East, and the Polish National Catholic Church are urged to respect the discipline of their own Churches. According to Roman Catholic discipline, the Code of Canon Law does not object to the reception of communion by Christians of these Churches (canon 844 § 3).
For those not receiving Holy Communion
All who are not receiving Holy Communion are encouraged to express in their hearts a prayerful desire for unity with the Lord Jesus and with one another.
We also welcome to this celebration those who do not share our faith in Jesus Christ. While we cannot admit them to Holy Communion, we ask them to offer prayers for the peace and the unity of the human family.