What is a first communion?

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Discover the purpose of a first communion.

What is a first communion? A first communion is considered one of the holiest and most important occasions in a Roman Catholic's life. It is representative of receiving the blood and body of Jesus. This receiving is called the Sacrament of the Eucharist.

What is a first communion, in simpler terms? A first communion is a religious practice or tradition that acknowledges one's belief in God and the acceptance of all that God represents in one's life.  

When does a First Communion Occur?

It is traditional for most Catholic children to receive their first communion at about seven or eight-years-old. Others may not receive it until they are older or even as adults, post-conversion. For older persons receiving the first communion, there may be a list of church requirements that must be met first. In order for anyone to receive communion, that person must be without sin and in a state of grace.

Steps of a First Communion

A first communion has many components. The Sacrament of Penance occurs a week before receiving one's first communion. Catholic children make their first confessions of wrong to a priest. At confession, the child will detail sins and misdeeds to a priest and receive a penance or forgiveness in exchange.

Confession isn't the only requirement for receiving the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist. The Sacrament of Baptism must have been received as well. Any person who is not baptized cannot receive communion. On the day of the first communion, those partaking must fast (go without eating and in some cases drinking) at least an hour before reception of the sacrament.  

While communion is a common practice in most Christian faiths, a first communion is more frequently practiced in the Catholic faith. It is different from solemn communions or monthly or seasonal communions in that it takes the knowledge of the importance of repentance, the Resurrection and forgiveness more rigorously.

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