he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and
gave it to them, saying, "This is my body which is given
for you. Do this in remembrance of me." And likewise the
cup after supper, saying, "This cup which is poured out
for you is the new covenant in my blood.” (Luke 22:19-20).
Like all the sacraments of the Catholic
Church, the Eucharist is an encounter with Jesus Christ. However,
it is the summit of all sacramental encounters with our Lord.
The Eucharist is the body and blood, soul and divinity of Jesus
Christ; it is Christ himself. All the sacraments are ordered
to it the whole of ecclesial life is ordered around it. As
the Catechism of the Catholic Church states, "the Eucharist
is the source and summit of the Christian life." (CCC,
1324) LG, 11.
The initiation of children into the sacramental
life of the Church is primarily the responsibility and concern
of parents (Canon. 890). Parents are the first teachers of
their children in the ways of faith. In Baptism, parents accept
the responsibility of training their children in the practice
of the Faith and to make it “their constant care. As
the Church has the task of supporting parents to fulfill this
vocational role, the Parish Priest has the responsibility,
with the help of catechists, under his guidance, to assist
in this essential catechesis.
The parish is the pre-eminent place for
catechesis and the whole community is involved in preparing
and supporting the children. Parishioners can assist firstly
by their Christian witness and secondly by their prayers and
expressions of support for these young members of the Church
who are progressing in their full initiation into the Catholic
Here at Ealing Abbey, the parish of St
Benedict, in conformity with diocesan guidelines, preparation
for the sacrament takes place in year three (the year in which
the child turns eight years old). Parents are asked to listen to pulpit announcements for enrolment dates. The catechetical sessions for
the children take place once a month from September to May
for two hours on a Saturday afternoon. Each of these sessions
is preceded by a parents’ preparation evening held on
the Tuesday or Thursday of the same week
Parents are expected to attend all of the parents’ sessions,
so that they can understand the process of preparation that the parish
is providing for the children, and to be helped to play their own particular
and important part in helping prepare their children for their first
and continuing reception of these sacraments. This involvement of the
parents’ in the catechesis, and in witnessing to the place of
the sacraments in the life of Catholics is regarded as a critically
important element in the parish-based preparation for First Reconciliation
and First Holy Communion.
The sacrament is celebrated in the month
of May and parents are greatly encouraged to help plan the
liturgies under the direction of the presiding priest.
Please go to Catholic Life>RCIA for information about being received into the Catholic Church.