Our church schedules First Communion for children the first Sunday after Easter Sunday. I ask because we have no mention of Divine Mercy Sunday other than a title on a commercially published bulletin header.
If this date is mandated, please list the authority.
North American Mother’s Day has often been the choice for our parish too, but the last Pastor and this one seem to be trying to do away with that date.
Since we don’t always follow the school year, one year First Communion was in the fall because the only person doing the preparation had been away from the parish for several months on a family emergency.
Every parish is going to be a little different on this. There’s no specified date in canon law.
Some parishes have a separate Mass for First Communion. Others have children receive at a regular Sunday Mass or perhaps spread over several Masses on a single day or several Sundays.
It sounds like you’re unhappy that Divine Mercy Sunday isn’t given more prominence at your parish. All I can say is that at my parish we don’t have First Communion that day but the only mention I’ve seen of Divine Mercy is in the bulletin where there’s an announcement of a service at another church in town.
Pastors are different and have different priorities. You can mention to your pastor that you would like to see more attention paid to Divine Mercy Sunday if you’d like. He either will do something or not. And one day you’ll have a different pastor with different priorities who may be more to your liking.
Our archdiocese puts no restrictions on the pastor, therefore it belongs to the pastor to determine when a child can be admitted
Here is the relevant Canon
Can. 912 Any baptized person not prohibited by law can and must be admitted to holy communion.
Can. 914 It is primarily the duty of parents and those who take the place of parents, as well as the duty of pastors, to take care that children who have reached the use of reason are prepared properly and, after they have made sacramental confession, are refreshed with this divine food as soon as possible. It is for the pastor to exercise vigilance so that children who have not attained the use of reason or whom he judges are not sufficiently disposed do not approach holy communion.
Our pastor does take the ‘soon as possible’ pretty seriously. He has specified certain requirements to the parish catechists, and when they are met, and the child is at or past the age of reason, our pastor prefers that the parents make arrangements for he child to receive Holy Communion.
In the case of our daughter, she made her First Holy Communion just after Christmas.
There will be a general Mass in the spring that she would also participate in that will include others who made their First Holy Communion.
But our pastor, (and Canon Law) see no point in having a child be refused Holy Communion if they meet the requirements set down by Canon 914. In fact Canon 912 would prohibit my pastor from doing so.
Of course, if a diocese has Particular Law, then Canon 912 would come into effect and the child should not present themselves for Holy Communion.
I truly like the May schedules that some of you have. I hadn’t considered the First Communion attire as getting at least one more wearing, May crowning. The children are so beautiful.
I am not unhappy about our parishes celebrating First Communion on Divine Mercy Sunday, I am told it’s always then. I, however, do regret that Divine Mercy Sunday comes and goes without special recognition.
The teacher for First Communion is quite firm in her answer that it is always on Divine Mercy Sunday, and I suspect it may indeed be an “immovable” celebration.
Our parish is rural and semi-rural…approximately 850 families…several hundred square miles…four worship sites. We have preparatory classes for the children and their families, and then allow the family to choose the date and worship site for First Eucharist…the child receives First Eucharist with his/her family, and the community has a celebration after Mass. It works well for us, but the logistics wouldn’t work in some larger parishes.
I know that our new Pastor would prefer having children receive Communion as they are ready but it’s hard to fight the status quo. I did experience that setup with our oldest daughter. We parents were responsible for preparing our own children, with help from the parish and some gatherings of all the families through the year. When we felt that our children were ready (had completed the workbook), we took them to the Pastor for an interview and if he felt they were ready they received the next time they went to Mass.
That is pretty much how it works here. Our pastor has set some objective criteria that the children have to meet and authorized several catechists to interview the child. Those catechists are to make themselves reasonably available by appointment throughout the year to test, coach and finally interview the child as needed.
The criteria include regular Mass attendance, knowing standard prayers of the Church, recent Confession ( which the child is welcome to do on their own anytime after their 7th birthday)
If the child meets the objective criteria, the child or their parents can request an interview with one of the catechists.
During the interview, can adequately describe what the Eucharist is and why they want to receive it, the child is given the OK to receive Holy Communion at any subsequent Mass. The pastor’s preference being within a few weeks at most, but my pastor does recognize that he cannot force the child, nor anyone else, to receive the Sacrament.
I believe there are 5 such authorized catechists in the parish, plus our two deacons or the pastor himself who can conduct the interviews, and educational handouts are available for the parents to help them prepare their child.
I’m unaware of any particular directives from my bishop or former bishop, but this has been my experience as well (1st Sunday in May for FHC, 2nd Sunday/Mother’s Day for May Crowning).
In my former parish (when I still lived in NY), we also had a 40 Hours (right around the date of Corpus Christi) and the children were invited to process wearing their FHC clothing then, as well (so, FHC, May Crowning and 40 Hours so that there were three separate occasions to wear the outfits).
We have at least 2 special Masses for FHC. They are in early May. I am not sure of the exact date because I haven’t been involved in sacramental prep at this parish. Some girls do continue to wear their first communion dresses to Mass at least during the spring. It is very sweet.
We have 90 parish school kids and 8 classes of PSR kids (don’t know how many per class), so we have 3 Masses on 2 Saturdays. This year it’s April 27th at 11:00 a.m., and May 11th at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. It was those same weekends (day b/f Mother’s day & the week before that) when my 4th grader did it 2 years ago, so I guess depending on when Easter falls it could be on Divine Mercy weekend, but since we always do it on Saturday, it wouldn’t interfere.
In our area, every parish doesn’t do it’s own DM celebration, there’s just an “area” one that everyone is invited to. This year ours is at a neighboring parish. Last year my parish “hosted” it.
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