Requirements of First Holy Communion vary from church to church. The age requirement, as we already discussed, is fairly rigid. This ceremony is usually intended for second graders. As far as spiritual education goes, most parishes have a mandatory education program that precedes the ceremony. Some churches hold this after school or on the weekends, while others may require a child to be enrolled in a Catholic school for regular education.
For example, here is what is required of children at Saint Mary’s Catholic Church in Sandusky, Ohio. At a minimum, your child must:
- Be baptized in the Catholic Church, or another Christian denomination recognized by the Catholic Church. Basically, they must have been baptized with water and “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
- Have received at least one year of religious education instruction before second grade. Enrollment in Sandusky Central Catholic School in second grade, or enrollment in our Parish School of Religion in level two is the norm. If your child is older than second grade, we may require completion of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Children (RCIC) . RCIC is a comprehensive program of instruction that can “catch up” your child’s religious instruction when years were missed.
- Have received the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Instruction for this sacrament will take place at the same time as instruction for First Holy Communion. The reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation will take place a few weeks before First Holy Communion.
If they were not baptized at the church where they will be receiving First Holy Communion, some parishes require a baptismal record in order to proceed. Attendance at weekly mass, learning specific prayers and giving confession are other common prerequisites to the ceremony.