Category: Catholic Articles

5 Ways To Help Your Child Prepare For First Holy Communion

5 Ways To Help Your Child Prepare For First Holy Communion

First Communion is such an exciting and spiritually important day in the life of a young Catholic. Your child will receive the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ for the first time. Because it is such a wonderful day, Catholic families celebrate together when it happens. So many traditions have grown out of this practice. The children wear special clothes, girls wear beautiful white dresses, and the boys dress in suits. Parents throw parties, and they spend days getting ready to feed their family and friends.

Sometimes the logistics for First Communion celebrations overshadow the most important piece in the celebration: The growth in faith and discipleship that your child experiences. No matter how great your priest and parish is with their education programs, parents are the most important teachers every child has. Here are some ideas for you to help your child prepare for First Communion.

1. Teach by Example

No matter what you try to tell your kids, children learn most from your actions. It doesn’t matter how much you talk about being a good Catholic if you don’t live it. You child will see what you do and emulate it. The most important component of preparing your child for First Communion is living as a faithful Catholic yourself.

How do you do it? Start by attending Mass with your whole family at least every Sunday. If your parish offers daily Mass, consider going to one or more during the week, too. The Mass is the most basic level of devotion for the Catholic. You hear the Holy Scriptures, you pray together with God’s people, and you receive the Eucharist to sustain you in your faith.

When you attend Mass, participate in the liturgy. While the priest leads the liturgy and consecrates the Eucharist, the congregation also has an important role. The rubrics of your missal call for the people to respond by speaking or singing. If you sit silently through the Mass, as if it were a painful burden, your child will learn to do the same thing. If you participate with joy and gusto, your child will learn to do the same and may grow to enjoy the Mass.

Help your child to memorize the parts of the Mass that repeat every Sunday, so they can participate, too. The Mass is designed with non-readers in mind, so children can easily learn to participate even before they become strong readers.

Before children receive First Communion, they receive the sacrament of Reconciliation. You should do the same, repeatedly. Go to confession regularly with the whole family. Show your child the examination of conscience that you use to prepare. Not only will you receive the forgiveness of sins, but you will also teach your child to do the same.

2. Pray for Your Child

Prayer for your child should be a lifelong commitment. In the days and months leading up to taking First Communion, pray especially for your child’s preparation for the sacrament. Ask for intercessions from not just a saint with whom you have devotion, but also to one with whom your child is connected.

Pray also to a saint who is especially connected to the Eucharist. While every saint is devoted to the sacrament, some are particularly famous. Choose one as a patron and guide for your child’s preparation for communion.

3. Teach Your Child at Home

When most children are learning to read, parents will read them books so they can practice. You might talk about the letters and the sound each letter makes. Learning to read takes work at home and at school. Learning about the faith is no different. If you want your child to understand how important communion is for Catholics, you need to emphasize it at home, too.

Most parishes have a series of classes they require before a child’s First Communion. A priest might teach it, the director of religious education, or maybe a volunteer. Before your child attends the first class, talk with the instructor about the curriculum. Ask for resources that you can use at home to reinforce what they are teaching in class. If they don’t have anything, you can find some wonderful books that guide parents through raising their children in the Catholic faith.

4. Look for Teachable Moments

A teachable moment is an experience where your child might be more open to learning about something. It can be a question your child asks you, an event you attend, or something that happens to you. If you pay attention, you’ll find the perfect moment to have a short, casual talk about the meaning of communion.

One of the most likely times for this is at Mass. Most children are full of questions, and they’ll ask them as soon as they can. If your child asks something in Mass, embrace it as a teachable moment. Quietly whisper your best answer. If you don’t know, say so, and then bring your child to the priest to ask the question. Everyone appreciates that kind of honesty, and your child is no different. Plus, asking the priest models how adults get answers to the questions they have.

5. Emphasise the Sacrament on the Day

Most Catholic parents have a party to help emphasise the importance of communion and the joy the whole family has as your child takes this sacrament of initiation for the first time. You’ll find the right clothes, invite family members, and make lots of food. The party is a great way to show how important communion truly is.

As you prepare, keep in mind that the party can also distract from the main event, the sacrament. The gifts, the food, the clothes, and everything else can become so important for the child, and for you, that the Eucharist becomes an afterthought. In each stage of preparation, think about ways you can turn the attention of the party back to the Mass. If your family members give First Communion gifts on the day, encourage them to find something that points to the Eucharist rather than giving money.

The sacraments of initiation are important milestones for a Catholic child. They mark each child’s growth in faith and devotion in the church. You, the parent, are the most important guide your child has for the faith. With a little work and some preparation, you can have fun preparing your child for First Communion, and you will help to build a foundation of faith that will last a lifetime.

10 Ways To Pray Without Ceasing And Still Get Time To Work

10 Ways To Pray Without Ceasing And Still Get Time To Work

 

How does one remember to pray “unceasingly” as we are commanded to do? Unless we are a hermit or cloistered nun, it seems next to impossible! It’s actually different that you might have in mind, and more possible than you might imagine, though. Here are some practical ways to always pray unceasingly:

1. Start Your Day Praying

When we first wake up in the morning, we can begin our day by offering it to the Lord. A great way to remember to do this is put a prayer card on the bathroom mirror so Jesus is staring us right in the face. When we start the day by inviting the Lord into it, He will guide our day so things run smoother than they would have without Him.

2. Pray Before Eating Breakfast

We should always pray before eating our meals, from a simple, “Thank you for this food” to the more formal,

“Bless us o’Lord and these our gifts, which we are about to receive from thy bounty, through Christ our Lord. Amen.” My 2-year-old knows this prayer! Offering gratitude for the food and gifts that we’ve been given is the best way to thank God for the simple things He’s given us.

3. Check Out a Morning Funny

After we first get working in the morning, it’s good to take a mid-morning break. Check out what’s new on catholicdigestt and take a break by playing a game in out “Play” content. This is filled with pop quizzes and games that can give us that mental break we need to continue the day.

4. Pray Before Eating Lunch

This may be our first social meal of the day, when we are eating with coworkers and it may seem like a social faux pas to stand up, ask everyone to hold hands and pray over the whole cafeteria, but there is nothing wrong with us taking a moment to silence ourselves and say a prayer before digging in. Cross yourself – it doesn’t matter who’s watching – and say a small prayer to continue giving the day to God. We can also take this opportunity to ask God to help us through the rest of our day, too. Don’t let that prayer pass you by.

5. Afternoon Prayer Time

Now, this is the time when the afternoon is dragging on and we can no longer focus on our work. Take this time to do some stretching, or if you are able to, take a quick walk outside and go enjoy nature. God created all of this; the warmth of the sun, the birds in the air, the wind blowing the leaves. Take a deep breath and thank God for the great outdoors. Ask him to complete your work, and help with any struggles.

6. After Work Break

OK, so we’ve had a long day that hasn’t quite gone as expected & now it’s time to decompress. Check out the latest news & Catholic information on epicPew. Yeah, we shamelessly plug ourselves. But whatever – check in on your favourite, responsible, Catholic news source. They will keep us to date on everything Catholic from news from the Pope to the latest hot button issues to Catholic saints & tradition. They have it all in one convenient site!

7. Dinner Prayer

This is an easy one with all of our family in one place (unless your family is like mine where by the time I sit down with my dinner, everyone else is done with theirs!). Even if the kids are praying over only a few bites left, praying as a family over dinner is an awesome way to invite Jesus to join the family for dinner. Think about it, Jesus loved eating with his friends too, so don’t forget to invite Him to dinner!

8. Night Family Prayers

Our nighttime routine is a snack, ready for bed & family prayer. Even the older ones must join because prayer is so important to establish. We say our “God bless mommy, daddy, ….” all our family members. Then, each child says something they are thankful for & something they are sorry for during that day. We conclude with a standard prayer like the Our Father. Kiss & hugs, and off to bed.

9. Nighttime Decompression

Instead of watching some immortal movie or show on TV, we can all watch something faith based on the Watch tab at catholicdigestt. They have amazing content from video of the Pope to Jim Gaffigan’s college address to Catholic apologizists discussing topics of faith. There is so much content we may forget to go to bed!

10. Sweet Dreams

Finally, the sweet bliss of sleep is coming, but before nodding off completely, say a prayer to thank God for another day, mention some specific blessings and ask Him for any needs.

God should be in our thoughts and minds from the moment we rise to the time we lay our heads down to sleep.

Never Receive The Eucharist If:

Never Receive The Eucharist If:

1. You’re not sure about your last confession

If your last confession wasn’t very good, you might want to be careful about receiving the Holy Eucharist. When I say “wasn’t good”, I mean, if you willfully withheld a mortal sin, you’ve not been restored in grace. You need to see a priest, rectify the problem then you can joyfully receive Jesus. However, if you are scared of venial sins, even unconfessed ones, you needn’t stay away from Jesus. When you pray, God forgives your venial sins.

Even though the Church exhorts you to confess them in order that your sense of sin might be stronger causing you to avoid graver offenses with a little more ease. However, venial sins cannot deter one from receiving.

2. You didn’t observe the fast

Unless you’re sick or on medication, you must observe the one-hour fast in order to receive. (Do we still observe this these days?)

3. You willfully came late on a Sunday Mass.

Part of your Sunday obligation is attending Mass, and coming to it on time. If you willfully come late to Mass, you do not fulfill your obligation properly. What I normally advise is: If you run late for an early morning mass, wait for the next. However, if you are late for a good reason such as health or some other unavoidable issue, it’s then okay to receive.

It is important to examine oneself to be conscious of Jesus whenever we want to receive. DO NOT LOSE SIGHT OF HIM. Do not approach the altar because you want to be seen, or you want to “appear”. Come to Jesus because your heart calls out to him. Whenever you receive Jesus, let it be out of love and devotion.

“As Catholics, we fully participate in the celebration of the Eucharist when we receive Holy Communion. We are encouraged to receive Communion devoutly and frequently. In order to be properly disposed to receive Communion, participants should not be conscious of grave sin and normally should have fasted for one hour.

A person who is conscious of grave sin is not to receive the Body and Blood of the Lord without prior sacramental confession except for a grave reason where there is no opportunity for confession. In this case, the person is to be mindful of the obligation to make an act of perfect contrition, including the intention of confessing as soon as possible (canon 916). A frequent reception of the Sacrament of Penance is encouraged for all.”

Source: catholicsay

What Is The Difference Between A Friar, A Monk And A Priest?

What Is The Difference Between A Friar, A Monk And A Priest?

What Is the Difference Between a Friar, a Monk and a Priest?

Their priesthoods are equivalent, but their vocations are not exactly alike.

These are somewhat flexible terms; popularly they are all understood to involve a life of sacrifice and poverty. But while all variation of priesthoods may be equivalent, their vocations are not exactly alike, except in that they are meant to live their lives in service. A priest may be monastic, or religious, or “secular” (also called “diocesan”), but they are all clergy.

A priest in the Catholic Church is a man who has received the sacrament of Holy Orders and has therefore undertaken the duties of celebrating the Sacrifice of the Mass, hearing confession, giving absolution and other sacraments “in persona Christi” and to perform other duties of pastoral ministry and, sometimes, administration.

A priest may be connected to a diocese or to a religious order, or to a monastic house (an abbey or priory/convent). All priests, whether diocesan or religious, take vows of celibacy, and of obedience their superiors:

A diocesan priest promises obedience to his bishop.

A religious priest (like a Dominican or Franciscan) vows obedience to his superior, usually called a “provincial.”

A monastic priest vows obedience to his abbot (if living in an abbey) or prior (in a priory).

Diocesan priests do not take vows of poverty and may possess and inherit property.

Priests vowed to a religious order (like the Franciscans, Dominicans, etc) or a monastic community (like the Benedictines or Cistercians) do make vows of poverty, surrendering any income they generate through their works to their superiors. So a Dominican writer earning profits from his books will turn those royalty checks over to the Order of Preachers. A Trappist writer will turn his earnings over to his abbot or prior, for the benefit of the whole community.

The word “friar” is from fraire (from the Middle Ages — the fraire Provençal), which means “brother.” The word arose with the creation of the mendicant (traveling/preaching) orders in the late Middle Ages, most predominantly by Saint Francis (Franciscans) of Assisi and Saint Dominic (Order of Preachers, or “Dominicans”). These “new religious” were no longer tied to monasteries and convents but went out among the people, to preach and to pray, to educate and to serve the sick.

A priest who is part of a mendicant religious order is also a friar; a priest who is part of a conventual/monastic community (contemplative/stationary) is also a monk. But monks and friars need not be priests. Some monks and friars discern their vocations as religious, content to simply be brothers within their order or community; they do not pursue the priesthood.

The word “monk” comes from the Latin monachus, a word for hermits, rooted in a meaning of “solitude.” It is related to the emergence of the first experiences of contemplative men and women, such as the Desert Fathers and Mothers. Saint Benedict of Nursia (480-547) is considered the founder of Western Monasticism.
Finally, it is possible for a priest to be neither “secular”, nor “friar”, nor “monk” but still be a religious. A Jesuit priest (Society of Jesus), or a Pauline priest (Society of Saint Paul), or a Salesian priest (Society of St. Francis de Sales, aka Salesians of Don Bosco) is fully a priest and will make the same vows of poverty, chastity and obedience to their religious superiors, just like friars and monks, but they are simply priests of their respective communities.

Source:

Aleteia.

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