How to Know if Your Daughter is Ready for First Communion?

Published: 26th February 2010
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First Communion is a life-changing moment in your child's life. Catholic parents all over the world consider it a joyous experience. On that life-changing event, you want your child to be ready, physically and spiritually. Your daughter's first communion is a very special occasion worth celebrating; this is why knowing that your daughter is ready for her First Communion is truly important.

How do you know if your daughter is ready for First Communion? If you're not certain whether your child is ready for First communion, feel free to visit the priest in your local diocese but don't be surprised if he tells you that the best person to decide is you!

You can know whether your child is ready to receive the First Communion by recognizing important signs. Then, as a parent, you can decide for your child. The Parish priest can not do this for you. He can only guide you through the decision process.

Some common signs that your daughter is ready for her First Communion:

o She starts asking you to read her stories from the Bible. She loves to hear about God's love and shows excitement every time you talk about Jesus and His message of salvation.

o She has a growing curiosity about the Trinity.

o She begins to express her love for Jesus through prayer. You see her pray before she eats and goes to bed.

o She actively participates in Sunday Mass and actually understands the relevance of the Mass

o She keeps her appointment with God.

o She becomes aware of God's presence in her life. She knows that God protects her from all evils and guides her everyday.

The Church administers First Communion to children between the ages of 7 and 8 but in order for a child to make her First Communion, she must first have arrived at the age of discretion and has successfully met all the Church's requirements, e.g., have a first communion dress, attend catechism classes, and memorize some prayers. The age of discretion, as viewed by theologians, refers to the age a child becomes capable of moral responsibility. When the child understands right from wrong and understands that actions have consequences, then the child is said to be ready to approach the Holy table and receive the Eucharist.

According to the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia article on Communion of Children:"In the best-supported view of theologians this phrase means, not the attainment of a definite number of years, but rather the arrival at a certain stage in mental development, when children become able to discern the Eucharistic from ordinary bread, to realize in some measure the dignity and excellence of the Sacrament of the Altar, to believe in the Real Presence, and adore Christ under the sacramental veils."

So if your child can tell the difference between the Eucharist and regular bread, and understands the significance of the Eucharist and its celebration then she is ready for her First Communion.

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