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Frequently Asked Questions

About the First Eucharist Preparation

How does the preparation work?
Our Eucharist preparation is similar to that of Reconciliation.  Parents and children prepare mostly at home using a workbook.  The workbook has eight lessons which will guide parent and child through familiar Bible stories, offer discussion points, and suggest activities for you while on this journey. There are two parent-child workshops at the church to begin and conclude the preparation.  We also offer two parent meetings to assist parents as they prepare their children.

Why is most of the preparation done at home?
The home is the primary place where faith is cultivated.  Parents are their child’s primary example of how to live as a Christian and they remain instrumental to their child’s spiritual formation throughout life.  It is then natural that this special preparation would take place in the home.  Parents are not alone, however, in this task.  From the time of a child’s baptism, the Church offers support through prayer, communal worship, faith formation programs (be it parish or Catholic school sponsored), and a place to give thanks to our God who is always so generous.  Holy Family, in addition to all the aforementioned and in light of the important task ahead of you, offers two parent-child preparation workshops and two parent meetings.

What are the workshops all about?  

The first workshop is where we give out workbooks, helpful materials, create a chalice, and review the Sacrament of Eucharist. 

The second workshop serves as a review and practice for children, and we answer questions from parents about the upcoming celebration. 

It is very important that you and your child attend both of these events.

What are the parent meetings all about?  
The two parent meetings are to offer you help by exploring the Sacrament of Eucharist at an adult level.  With a better understanding of the Eucharist, you will be better equipped to help your child prepare for this sacrament.  These meetings are the same meetings that are part of the preparation for the Sacrament of Reconciliation, so you have probably already attended the first meeting.  If you've missed this one, however, there is a make-up session.  See the schedule for details.

Do both parents have to attend the meetings/workshops? 
It would be wonderful for both parents to attend the meetings, but only one parent/guardian needs to attend each meeting per sacrament.

What if I miss a meeting/workshop?
Life happens.  Please contact the Faith Formation Office (301-473-4800) to let us know if you will not be able to attend an upcoming meeting.  You will then receive instructions on what you can do to get the needed information or make up the event.  Please keep in mind, however, the goal of nurturing your child's relationship with God and their understanding of these sacraments when scheduling activities and committing your time.

Why does my child have to participate in a separate preparation if  my child is enrolled in Catholic School? 
The Archdiocesan policies require that all children be prepared for Sacraments together regardless of how they receive their religious education, i.e. parish school, parish faith formation program, or homeschool.  This does not take away from the preparation that is going on in their "regular" classroom; it enhances it and brings about a deeper sense of family and parish community.

About Celebrating First Eucharist

How can my child be better prepared to receive his/her first communion?
Have you child pay attention as to how people receive communion at the Masses leading up to his/her first communion.  We've made a video to help you and your child, so you can also watch this by clicking here.

How will I find out which Mass we are assigned to for my child's 1st Communion?  
Sign up for your preferred Mass here or fill out the paper form found at the Parish Information Center.  Once the majority are collected (usually by early February), the list of Mass assignments will be emailed to all parents.   

What should my child wear for his/her First Eucharist?
Holy Family does not have a “dress code,” but rather leaves that to the discretion of each family.  The Mass is an awesome miracle, and those who partake of the heavenly banquet are tremendously privileged. Appropriate dress is a simple way of acknowledging this privilege.  However, keep in mind your child’s comfort; we do not want them to be too distracted by what they are wearing.

Typically we see…

  • White dresses for girls are the most popular; veils or other head pieces.
  • Suit and tie or jacket/ slacks/shirt/ tie are appropriate for the boys.

Will my child have an opportunity to practice how to receive communion?
Yes.  During the last workshop, we take time to show the children how to approach the Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, receive the host, and drink from the chalice.  We will also practice with unconsecrated hosts and water.  It will be important for you to practice at home as well.

When do we get the chalices back?
The chalices will be returned to you the day of your child’s First Eucharist.  They will be displayed in the Narthex.  You can take it home with you when you leave that day. 

When are the workbooks due?
The workbooks by April 11th.  I only have one week to turn those around until the first group celebrate their first communion.   Books will be returned to you the day of your child’s First Eucharist.  If they are not picked up the day of the celebration, they will be available on the shelf in front of the parish office until the end of May.  They will be recycled after that point.

Is photography allowed during Mass?
Flash photography is not allowed at any time during Mass. If you or a family member will be video recording or taking pictures without a flash, we ask that you be respectful of those around you to maintain the proper reverence for the sacred liturgy (i.e. stand no closer than the closest pew).

For the group Mass, we arrange to have a photographer take a picture of each child receiving the host.  The photographer will also take a group picture after Mass.  Pictures will be made available digitally.

Will there be pictures with Fr. Rob?
Fr. Rob will be available after Mass once he has finished greeting the congregation.  He will also be available after the group Mass, but due to the number of children, we will coordinate a line for individual family pictures with Fr. Rob.

Will there be reserved seating for my family and guests?
Group Mass: There will be no reserved seating for the families at the group Mass as the first communicants are seated together.

Regular Weekend Masses: One pew per family will be reserved. This information will be emailed to you the week before your child is scheduled to receive.

Will all of my family and guests be able to receive communion at the same time as my child?
Group Mass: families will receive communion after all of the first communicants have received.

Regular Weekend Masses: only those family members and guests who are seated with the first communicant will approach the altar at the same time as the first communicant. Those who are seated elsewhere in the church will receive as directed by the Greeters.

How can my non-Catholic family and friends participate in the Mass?
We always welcome our non-Catholic brothers and sisters to celebrate with us.  During the Communion Rite, they can process up for a blessing.  As they approach the priest, they can cross their arms across their chest as a sign that they have come up for the blessing, as Catholics also do when not receiving the Eucharist.