The article mostly discusses whether a 7 year old child is capable of serious sin, and consequently, whether or not First Confession is simply a sort of symbol or precursor, or a genuine necessity in the child's life. St Thomas Aquinas considered that a child of the age of reason was capable of making a decision for or against God.
In other words, the child’s first rational thought is of his identity – “Who am I?” – but if he directs himself at that moment to his Creator, he will be forgiven even of original sin. If, on the other hand, the child turns inward and makes himself his own last end, then this sin will be a grave sin of omission – for he will fail to love GodThe blog also gave me some information I had been looking for on what the child should know before first approaching the sacraments. Since Aidan is developmentally delayed, I have been having trouble deciding whether it is possible to prepare him sufficiently, and this helped make it clearer for me.
II. For first Confession and first Communion it is not necessary to have a fully complete knowledge of Christian doctrine. Afterwards, however, the child should gradually learn the whole catechism according to his mental capacity.-----------------------------
III. The religious knowledge required of a child for suitable preparation before first Communion is the following. He should understand, according to his ability, the mysteries of faith necessary for salvation, and be sufficiently able to distinguish the Eucharistic from ordinary corporeal bread, to approach the most holy Eucharist with such devotion as can be expected at his age.
I also found some other resources. Sorry, this is long and should be broken up with pretty pictures but I don't have time -- I accidentally published this before I was finished. I may add pretty pictures later.
First, here is my Catholic Studies blog where I started putting things for First Communion Prep and then got derailed. Life! However, though I didn't write much after last spring, we did continue sacramental prep and I still have time to start a notebook. .... if I so desire. I will let the Holy Spirit help me discern whether that is a priority for my kids. There are links to more blogs there.
Some more from online:
Here's a good one:
Pope Benedict speaks with First Communicants
I made it into a Google Doc and posted it here. To First Communicants
from this page which has links to a lot of documents concerned with sacramental preparation
First Communion (Church Teachings)
Some More Blogs:
- From Shower of Roses there is "The Little Flower's First Communion"
- First Communion (St Therese, and some art)
- St. Dominic de Savio is my oldest son's confirmation patron -- here are St Dominic's First Communion promises which he kept in a little book and read over and over.
- Here is St Gemma Galgani's testimony about her First Holy Communion
- An account of St Maria Goretti's First Communion
- An account of Raymond Kolbe's early life (the boy who was to become the martyr at Auschwitz Maximilan Kolbe)
Raymond was known as a mischievous child, sometimes considered wild, and a trial to his parents. However, in 1906 at Pabianice, at age twelve and around the time of his first Communion, he received a vision of the Virgin Mary that changed his life.
"I asked the Mother of God what was to become of me. Then she came to me holding two crowns, one white, the other red. She asked if I was willing to accept either of these crowns. The white one meant that I should persevere in purity, and the red that I should become a martyr. I said that I would accept them both". - Saint Maximilian
- Here is a thread at 4RealLearning with a lot of resources listed.
- Here is a First Communion Novena (PDF)
Here are a couple of online resources -- old-fashioned and nice.
- Here are some free downloads that are pretty though targeted to confirmation age so might be too advanced for primaries.
- There are some free First Holy Communion handouts in pdf -- a bit teeth-gratingly cartoony in places and worksheety, but might review helpful information.
from The Catechist's Manual
Readiness for First Communion (pdf) -- a sort of document of "standards". I found it useful to print as a sort of examen for me in this last month.
I copied this over from a document from a church and put it in bullet points-- I don't seem to have the link anymore.
You will know your child is ready to receive First Communion if they
- seem to have an appreciation of Jesus and his life
- seem to have a desire to receive Jesus in Holy Communion.
- know that the appearances of bread and wine under which Jesus is present are different from ordinary bread and wine.
- are regularly participating in Sunday Mass
- are demonstrating an increasing familiarity with the prayers of the liturgy.
- They will receive a “My Mass Book” to bring to Mass to better follow the liturgy.
- Prior to their First Communion, please encourage them to walk in the Communion line for a blessing and to say “Amen.”
- The students will practice receiving the unconsecrated host and wine prior to First Communion.
- We teach the students to give a solemn bow before the host as the person in front of them is receiving.
I'm trying to focus on a Pray - Read -- Talk --- Do structure. Not necessary all of them every day, but just as a general reminder of what is important.
I gathered a bag of books which I just have around the house and which I thought might be useful. In another post I could share them though most of them are probably well known to most Catholics.