Here is a good summary of how to determine your child's readiness for first communion.
Criteria for readiness to receive the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist
Preparation for the reception of the Sacrament of the Eucharist is conducted separately from that of Penance/Reconciliation, since each sacrament deserves its own concentrated preparation. But again, we are called at all times in youth, adolescence and as adults to study and seek formation in a deeper understanding of this most sacred mystery.
Physical/psychological readiness is shown by:
- Willingness to receive the sacrament. This involves a desire on the candidate’s part to participate in the preparation and to receive the sacrament with reverence appropriate to his/her age.
- Ability to attentively participate in the liturgy. This involves the capacity to be attentive and reverent, and to participate in the ritual according to his/her ability.
Catechetical readiness is shown by:
- Ability to understand Church affiliation. This involves the capacity to be aware of one’s belonging to the Catholic community through Baptism.
- Ability for child to express understanding of love and care for others just as Jesus did. This involves the capacity to know and reflect on the gospel stories of Jesus as one who loves and cares for each person and invites friendship. This invitation focuses on the sharing of a meal, (i.e., Feeding the Multitude, Sermon on the Living Bread, Vine and Branches, etc.)
- Ability to distinguish between ordinary bread and Eucharist. This involves the capacity to know the difference between ordinary bread and the Eucharistic bread, and to recognize the Mass as the sacrificial event in which we receive the gift of Jesus in the Eucharist, in the Word, and in the gathering of the community.
Liturgical readiness is shown by:
- Attending the Eucharistic Liturgy regularly. This promotes a familiarity with the parish community celebration and participation in the Mass.
- Ability to participate in the Eucharistic celebration. This involves the ability to participate in at least a simple way, in the ritual of the celebration and to understand the requirements of receiving the sacrament (i.e., simple responses, reverence according to age level, Eucharistic fast, etc.)
A loving family and a caring parish community surround your child, both before and after reception of the Sacraments of Penance/Reconciliation and Eucharist. It is our hope and prayer that both of these Sacraments continue to give affirmation and good example to your child so that a continued pattern of celebration is encouraged, and the relationship with God is fostered and developed.
For the gift of divine life is celebrated in the Sacraments of the Church where the most profound moments of our human experience are incorporated into the mystery and glory of our Lord. And so one day our faith tells us, we will all approach the table of the Lord, in everlasting forgiveness and enduring love.