The Holy Communion: The History and Meaning Behind the Importance

Published: 20th March 2012
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An overview of the First Holy Communion:

The Catholics believe that the First Communion is one of the most important moments in a child's life and that brings the child closer to the Lord as the Lord intended. It is the Roman Catholic Church that started to allow children to take part in the ceremony followed by the other denominations of Churches.

The Meaning and Importance the Event of Communion:

The Holy Communion, also known as The Sacrament of Eucharist, is believed to have been originated in the Last Supper, initiated by Jesus Christ himself, with his disciples. Further, the appearance he gave to his disciples after his resurrection was the indication that he wanted this to be practiced to bring people close and hence forth has become a tradition of sharing and receiving. The Roman Catholic Church gives more importance to this practice as they believe that they can touch, hear and feel the blessing of the Lord directly. But, contrary to the belief that all Christians practice Communion, the Eastern Orthodox Churches, Oriental Orthodox Churches and Assyrian Churches do not practice this tradition, but a variant. There are also other churches that practice this but at a much lower level, considering Eucharist as just a symbolic 'meal to meal' thanks giving to remember the Christ's Last Supper and the huge sacrifice he made for mankind.

The Holy Communion is celebrated with Christians gathering in the church during church service, also know as Mass in the Roman Catholic religion. The words of Jesus on account of the bread and wine are also enumerated at the service by the priest who presides over the ceremony as head of the table. Traditionally, churches collected or gathered wheat to bake a big loaf of bread which represented the body of the Christ which was broken to show the physical pain; the grapes were pressed to make wine which represented the blood of the Christ which he was spilled for the sake of mankind. The broken bread and the wine represent the sacrifice the Christ had to make in order for the sins to be forgiven. Overall, this is an event that is joyous and fulfilling for a fellow Christian as the bread and the wine represent the crucified and risen Christ and this event brings them close to the Lord Himself. Though the usage of bread and wine are common; the practices differs from church to church with keeping original meaning alone intact. The Roman Catholics also believe that the communion bring them not only close to the Lord but also bring everyone close to each other as they share the meal.

In 1910, the ancient Church Law on First communion was re-established by Pope Pius X. The change included encouraging the children to take part in the communion and the First communion age was reduced to seven or eight. According to the Church, children between the ages of seven and eight are in the right sense of mind and clarity, as it is considered the age of reasoning and understanding values and culture. The adults who have not undergone their First Communion for whatever reasons, have to go through a program named Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults to receive this sacrament. This is celebrated as a big occasion with family gathering in the Church and is often followed a large reception or party. A child usually wears a white Communion Dress or a white Communion Suit to symbolize purity. But, this again differs from country to country.

The Roman church has the practice of making it a responsibility of the Parish priest to ensure that the Baptized child from the church gets the First Communion before the confirmation in the early teens. The parents have to make sure that the child is mentally prepared to take the first step that will bring them closer to the Jesus Christ. Over all, this practice of the Holy Communion is considered as a holy event of bonding with the Risen Lord.

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