Sacramental Preparation Overview
At St. Matthew the Evangelist Parish, we encourage two years of Faith Formation prior to receiving these Sacraments, in order to have a good foundation of faith. Receiving the Body of Christ for the first time is a major milestone in our Catholic faith. When we receive Jesus in the Eucharist (Communion), we are becoming one with God because it is the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and not only a symbol. To prepare ourselves to receive Eucharist, we also prepare for and receive the sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession, Penance) prior to receiving one’s first Eucharist.
COVID Pandemic Protocol
We intend to follow all COVID / pandemic safety protocols in place set forth by the Archdiocese of Boston, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and Billerica Board of Health. We will update registered families prior to the event beginning with further specifics.
If you have any concerns, please contact Karyn Moody and speak with her.
Preparation for First Eucharist
Our process for preparing children for First Eucharist consists of:
- Regularly attending Mass (or watching, for COVID precautions) with your family is the best way to prepare for a child’s First Eucharist, and every Mass after.
- Seekers (or Explorers, or Pathfinders, depending on grade) Faith Formation – online digital platform or use paper materials
- Community Faith Formation – the Come and See Gatherings or Family Small Groups
- First Eucharist Workshop
- Additional information on this web page
Note: in the past, we used additional materials (titled Go, Seek, Find) to prepare children for First Reconciliation and First Eucharist. Recent feedback and our own investigations have shown that these materials are redundant to the Seekers Faith Formation materials. In 2022, we are evaluating this and our entire preparation process. Your feedback is welcomed.
First Eucharist Logistics
What do we do once we arrive at Church?
- One pew will be reserved for your family at the front of the Church.
- Upon arrival, check in with one of the Mass Assistants at the doors of the Church.
- Please be in your pew at least 5 minutes before the start of Mass.
- Please be sure to have your child sit at the end of the pew (closest to the aisle) so that he/she may be first from your family to receive the Eucharist.
- A member of the staff will greet you and answer any of your questions.
What do we need to do during Mass?
- Mass will happen as usual. The name of your child and other children receiving First Eucharist that weekend in our community will be prayed during the Prayers of the Faithful.
- Your child will come forward with the rest of your family at the start of communion, followed by everyone else during this Mass. Pictures are not allowed at this time.
- Click here for the specific steps, which you are advised to practice at home.
What do we do after Mass?
- You should receive a decorative certificate in your pew when you arrive. Please bring this and anything else home.
- You are welcome to stay after Mass to take pictures.
Reflecting on the Last Supper and Mass
- Jesus gave us his Body and Blood at the Last Supper.
- In every Mass, Jesus gives himself to us as he did at the Last Supper.
- Ordinary bread and wine are changed into the Body and Blood of Christ at every Mass.
- When we go to Mass, the words the priest says are the same as the ones Jesus said at the Last Supper.
- Jesus and his disciples sat around a table at the Last Supper. The altar is sometimes called the “table of the Lord.”
- Understanding what happens at Mass helps the children understand its importance and their special opportunity to receive Communion.
- There are many books and resources available for children. Check out:
What to Practice at Home Before Receiving First Eucharist – Specific Steps to Receive Communion
Kindly practice receiving communion with through role play the following steps:
(Helpful Tip: Practice using Mini Saltine Crackers or pieces of bread as the host)
- Prayerful “pointy” hands when approaching the alter
- Bow before your turn
- Hands clasp (left hand on top of right hand, if one is right-handed) – sometimes thought of as making a “throne” for Jesus, our King.
- Priest will say, “Body of Christ” child will reply, “Amen”
- Use the right hand from the bottom to bring the host to your mouth
- Children will bless themselves with the Sign of the Cross
- Return to your pew quietly
- Kneel and pray until the Eucharist has been put back in the Tabernacle
First Eucharist Attire
Your child is welcome to wear to his/her special attire for the Sacrament of First Holy Communion (such as traditional / special dresses and suits) or his/her Sunday Easter Best.
However, there is no dress code and no specific requirements of colors of types of clothes. We recommend wearing “Sunday Best” or something special for the occasion.
Communion Clothes Closet
The Communion Clothes Closet Program encourages parishioners and families to donate First Holy Communion dresses and suits that are new or no longer needed so they may be used/reused by other families. The outfits are borrowed, worn, cleaned, and then returned to the Communion Closet to be used once again.
We have pretty dresses and handsome suits, as well as accessories such as shoes and veils, that are available for our First Holy Communicants to borrow at the Parish Hall.
Please feel free to contact Karyn Moody to schedule a time to browse and borrow these outfits for your child’s upcoming special day.
Stores for Traditional First Holy Communion Attire
We frequently get asked where a family may shop for the special clothes for this special day. We have been advised of:
If you have additional suggestions for this list, please contact Tony Carbrello.