At the Last Supper, on the night before he died, Jesus shared bread and wine with his disciples with what must have been cryptic words to them at the time. This is my body, this is my blood, he said. “Do this in memory of me.” (Luke 22:19-20)
It was at that very first communion that Christ instituted the Holy Eucharist. And we continue to do as he asked to this day. In fact, the communion we share with the real presence of Christ in the bread and wine – body, blood, soul & divinity – is both the source and the summit of our faith and religion. The Eucharist defines who and what we are.
In the Roman Catholic Church, baptized children are invited to share in the Sacrament of Holy Communion at age 7. It is the point at which the Church believes a child has the ability to understand at a basic level that they are receiving Christ in the bread and wine that is consecrated during the Mass.
This the bread of life that sustains us as Catholic Christians. In it, we become one with Christ, sharing in the Baptismal promise that binds us to Him as disciples and sends us forth to spread the Gospel with our lives. Holy Communion for these children is the second of the three initiation sacraments of Baptism, Holy Communion and Confirmation, which in our parish comes in the eighth grade.