Many people are lost when it comes to first holy communion etiquette. Whether you are sending out communion invitations to family and friends or you have been invited to attend, there are certain formalities to follow that will help make the ceremony a success.
Check out the first holy communion etiquette tips below for everything you need to know about attending or inviting guests to this sacred ceremony.
Ceremony and Participation
A child’s first holy communion is a sacred ceremony where the child receives, for the first time, the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist (the eating of consecrated bread and drinking of consecrated wine).
It is a milestone in the lives of Catholics, so if you’ve been invited to one, make sure to respect the special occasion at hand.
Start by arriving on time or early. Showing up late will be disrupted, rude, and can even interfere with the ceremony. The people involved in the ceremony have put a lot of thought and effort into preparing for this special time, and if you walk in late, you will not only distract them, but you may even be in their way as they make their way down the aisle.
Also, check with whoever invited you to find out where you’ll be sitting. Wear formal attire (a dress or button-up shirt and slacks for women or a suit for men). In most cases, before the ceremony starts, someone will be passing out programs in front of the church. Grab one upon entering. The program will tell you what to expect and do.
Typically first holy communion ceremonies consist of prayers, hymns, readings, bidding prayers, and the actual communion. Children will receive their holy communion first, then any other people attending will be invited to receive communion. If you are not Catholic, you can stay seated at this point.
Communion Etiquette: Inviting People
Communion ceremonies are typically intimate affairs meant only for close friends and family. It’s fine to invite as many family and friends as you like to a communion party held after the ceremony, but for the ceremony itself, try keeping the guest list short.
Before inviting family and friends to your child’s communion ceremony, check with the officiant to see how much room is available.
Communion Etiquette: Invitation
After you run the number of people you’re inviting by the officiant, purchase your invitations. You can purchase generic ones at the store or you can create custom communion invitation on PurpleTrail.com complete with photos and custom wording and your choice of colors, fonts, and backgrounds.
Since your child will only have one first holy communion, it’s a good idea to go all out on your invites. If you make them extra special with photos and meaningful wording, you and your guests can hold on to them for years to come as a keepsake of this milestone moment in your child’s life.
If you’ll be sending invitations to friends and family who do not attend your church, make sure to include your churches name and address. If you’re planning on holding a celebration after the ceremony, also note where and when that will be on your invitations. For more tips on what to include in your communion invitations, check out this communion invitation wording post.
Communion Etiquette: Gifts
If you’ve been invited to attend a child’s first holy communion ceremony, you should bring a gift.Things that make the best first holy communion gifts are long lasting and pertain to Catholicism. Bibles, pendants, rosaries, and journals are all suitable gifts for a child’s communion.
You could also inscribe the gift, especially if it’s a pendant, bible, or journal, with an inspiring bible verse or prayer to make it more meaningful.
Communion Etiquette: Cards
If a close friend or family member has or will be attending their first holy communion, it’s customary to send them a card. Fill the card with a meaning message, check out this communion card wording samples for inspiration. You can also include cash inside of the card as a bonus.
Communion Etiquette: Money
Money makes for a great first holy communion gift, whether you’re sending it in a card or sharing it with a communicant at the ceremony or celebration.
Giving money along with a meaningful communion card is a great gift idea. How much money to include in the card? That depends on how close you are to the honoree. $20 is customary, but if you’re very close, consider giving even more. If you still feel unsure of how much to give, check with other family and friends to see how much they are giving.
Hopefully these first holy communion etiquette tips have answered all of your questions. Is there anything we missed? Please let us know via the comment section below.