THE FIRST COMMUNION
Among these sacraments we remember:
• Holy Order
• Anointing of the Sick
First communion is a solemn moment in the life of every Christian, which allows to access to the Eucharistic table by eating the body of Christ and, sometimes, by drinking his blood.
It is the celebration of the union of Jesus with the worshippers, who take part in the most significant mystery of Christianity: the one in which bread becomes the Body of Christ.
Whereas in the Eastern tradition the sacraments of baptism, Eucharist and confirmation are simultaneously conferred on children; in the Latin Church communion is given at the age of reason after following a three-year course of catechism and after celebrating the first confession (also known as penance or reconciliation).
Even, until the Papacy of Pius X, First Communion was accessible only on condition of having reached a deep knowledge of Christian dogmas, around the age of 15. It was only after the Congregation of Rites that it was decided that significant knowledge was no longer necessary, but that awareness of the difference between the Eucharist and the common bread was sufficient.
Nevertheless, it can happen that the priest who celebrates the sacrament denies it to children who have not reached the age of reason or to those who do not have sufficient knowledge.
An opposite situation can also occur: if a child, by way of exception, is considered mature enough to receive the sacrament, he cannot be denied the Eucharist, provided he has been sufficiently prepared.
Is First Communion a biblical observance?
No, in the Bible we do not speak of the sacrament of First Communion, but we speak of awareness, of conscience:
“For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” (Corinzi 1, 11-26)
“I am the living bread which came down out of heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. Yes, the bread which I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” (John 6,51)
There is therefore a truth that God wants everyone to know: Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, and He wants us to approach Him for forgiveness, also wants us to participate in the Lord’s supper to remember his gesture of love once and for all on the cross of Calvary
THE DRESS OF THE FIRST COMMUNION
In some dioceses, for example the Neapolitan ones, the worshipper is allowed to participate in the sacrament with tailored clothes, flaunting elegant dresses, ties, papillion etc.
While in other parishes the dress is similar for everyone, both male and female, and it is the canonical white tunic, similar to that of the altar boys who accompany the priest during mass, decorated with some simple embroidery or golden border.
These are extremely sparse and simple tunics, to allow the worshippers to concentrate exclusively on the solemnity of the sacrament they are receiving.