First Communion

Eucharist: The many experiences of bread

I love the smell of fresh baked-bread. I recall the times I’ve stopped at the international market intending to buy a couple of items, and leave with a loaf of bread. The aroma of fresh-baked bread fills the area gently alluring hungry shoppers to the area where bread is shelved. How many times have you picked up a warm bread loaf  in one of those kraft paper bag and condensation has formed on the clear window panel? A casual stroll down the second aisle is a lesson in the universality of bread. Bread is a staple food routinely shared at tables across cultures; everyone eats bread.

Children preparing for first Communion benefit greatly with concrete examples of bread. Catechists, retelling stories, bringing to class fresh bread stirs the child’s imagination of the universality of bread.  Here is a child-friendly lesson bridging classroom and home; truly family centered catechesis.

  • Why is bread important?
  • When does your family come together and share and eat bread?

A take-away: Perhaps this weekend when you gather around the table for a meal talk about bread? People all over the world come together to share bread to satisfy hunger. Why is bread important for your family? What hungers does bread satisfy? Have you ever made bread with your child?  Taking the lesson to the heart: Sometime this Lent commit to spending an afternoon baking bread together as a family.

Sunday’s Lesson continued: we retold the Gospel story of The Boy Who Gave His Lunch Away (John 6:1-13). The Gospel story ignited our imaginations We listened and imagined being present, hearing Jesus’ words. Oh my, a quick look at the time, with five minutes left of class the children didn’t have enough time to share: where did the children see themselves in the Gospel story?

  • The little boy (or little girl) willing to share his lunch with Jesus?
  • One of the disciples stressed out wondering when Jesus was going to quick talking so people could go home and get something to eat?
  • Someone listening to Jesus and hungering for more?

A take-away: Reread the Bible story with your child, and imagine that you are there, one of many people listening to Jesus’ stories. What do you hear him saying? This Lent, take time to read Bible stories with your child, be PRESENT in the story. What does Jesus tell you?

Sunday’s Lesson continues: How is the bread we receive at Communion different from ordinary bread [as one little girl said: “the kind you get at Trader Joe’s] Last Sunday the children left SCORE with ordinary bread to be shared, this Sunday in class we talk about the bread we receive at Communion.  

How fitting first Communion preparation continues through Lent. Throughout this holy season:

  • Continue to pray with your child practicing the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be.
  • Practice the Gospel response, signing forehead, lips and heart;
  • This weekend demonstrate for your child how to hold his/her hands to receive Eucharist. Though we will practice in class in a couple of weeks, it is so very meaningful when you, the parent, teach the proper way to receive Communion. This too is a milestone in the spiritual development of your child, just as special when you were there to catch your child first started to walk? Also, at the Children’s Retreat – Saturday, March 16 the children will drink from the cup, I encourage you to offer your child a sip of wine before the retreat.
  • MOST IMPORTANTLY, Continue to participate at Mass with your child.  With your child carry the Cross or bring up the Offertory gifts;
  • Continue to present your child to the Eucharist Minister for a blessing.

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