The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

March 29, 2012

Ss. John & Paul students preparing for Communion

Star Beacon

ASHTABULA — Spring is a very busy time of year for everyone; the flowers are in bloom, spring sports are starting, and the seniors are getting ready to graduate, but the seniors are not the only ones taking an important step in their lives. Many second graders, especially the second graders at Sts. John & Paul School Primary Campus are preparing for their First Communion, or the First Eucharist. First Communion is a very significant milestone in a young Catholic’s life with the church. It is when the church recognizes that a child has developed a conscience and is now old enough to acknowledge the significance of the Eucharist. After receiving the Eucharist for the first time, a Catholic will receive this sacrament every time he goes to church.

In the Catholic Church the Eucharist is the transfiguration of the bread and wine (which symbolizes the bread and wine offered to the apostles at the Last Supper) to the body and blood of Jesus Christ. When we receive the body and blood of Jesus, it is in remembrance of him. It is reassuring the path to eternal life, and it assures us of an everlasting life with God in heaven.

In addition, a member of the church must complete the first two sacraments to receive  First Communion. The first sacrament is Baptism and it is only received once. Baptism is the initiating into the church. The second sacrament is Reconciliation, or Penance. This sacrament is also received in the second grade a couple of months before First Communion, usually in the February. This sacrament allows the child seeking penance or forgiveness to confess his  sins to a priest. This sacrament is received more than once; usually the student body will go to church to receive the sacrament twice every year during Lent and Advent.

However, there is not a set age where you can receive these sacraments. Adults can take RCIA, or Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, classes to receive these sacraments in the Catholic Church.

The second grade students are anxious and eager to receive their First Communion. The students and their parents must attend three meetings explaining what to expect, and how they should prepare as a family for the sacrament. The three meetings are run by Sister Shirley Warner at Our Lady of Peace Parish Center. The students receive a workbook, which they read and answer any questions.

On May 5 some students will be receiving this sacrament; parents and grandparents, and godparents and relatives will gather at Our Lady of Peace Parish/Mother of Sorrows.  Others will gather individually with their families on May 6. The girls will be wearing all white to represent purity and the boys will wear a suit and tie.