The Archdiocese of Birmingham - The Parish of the Immaculate Conception

The Sacrament of the Eucharist

Reconciliation and First Holy Communion enrolement form

Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had said the blessing he broke it and gave it to the disciples. “Take it and eat.” he said, “this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he handed it to them saying, “Drink from this, all of you, for this is my blood, the blood of the covenant poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Matthew 26: 26-28

Holy Communion, or the Sacrament of sacraments, occupies a unique place within the sacramental hierarchy and all the other sacraments are ordered to it as their end (Catechism 1211). It is the source and summit of Christian life. All the ecclesiastical ministries and works of the apostolate are bound up with it and are directed towards it. In it is the whole spiritual good of the whole Church, namely the Lord Jesus Christ himself (1324). Through the Eucharistic celebration the Church and its members unites itself with the heavenly liturgy and anticipates eternal life (1326). One of the names commonly given to this Sacrament, Holy Communion, refers to the faithful uniting themselves with the Lord Jesus Christ as they share his Body and Blood to become one single body (1331). The holy Eucharist completes Christian initiation. Those who have been raised to the dignity of the royal priesthood by Baptism, are configured more deeply to Christ by Confirmation, participate with the whole community in the Lord's own sacrifice by means of the Eucharist (1322)

For this reason more emphasis is placed in the preparation of the children who are going to receive this Sacrament than perhaps for the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Confirmation. Preparation for First Holy Communion follows on from and takes the same format as the preparation for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Application is made in the same way via a form available from the website or the parish office. They and their children will then be asked to publically request this Sacrament at one of the Sunday Masses and then to attend the series of preparation classes held on Saturday mornings between January and May in The John Paul II Centre. If they are not already regular Sunday Mass goers they will be asked to attend one of the weekend Masses so that they and their child may gain the full spiritual benefit from this Sacrament. The children then make their First Holy Communion during June. Registration, requesting the sacrament and attendance at the preparation classes are compulsory. There is a small fee, payable on booking, to cover the cost of the book that forms the back-bone of the preparation course.

In keeping with the requirements of the diocese, all the children’s sacramental programme volunteers are DBS checked.

The Catholic Church recommends that the faithful receive Holy Communion each time that they participate in the Sacrifice of the Mass and obliges them to do so at least once a year (Catechism 1417). However, the Church also stipulates that the recipient must be in a state of grace and that anyone aware of having sinned mortally must not receive Holy Communion without having received absolution through the Sacrament of Reconciliation (1415 and 1457). Members of the congregation who are not Catholics or who are Catholics but are unable to receive Holy Communion for some reason or children who have not yet made their First Holy Communion are welcome to approach the sanctuary for a blessing. If you are coming up for a blessing, please indicate this by placing your hand on the opposite shoulder when approaching the priest, deacon or Extraordinary Minister. Catholics who do approach the sanctuary to receive Holy Communion are asked to make some gesture of reverence, usually a genuflection, before receiving the Body of the Lord Jesus Christ.

If you are unable to approach the sanctuary steps but would wish to receive Holy Communion you are requested to sit in either of the front pews which are normally reserved for sick, frail, aged or infirm parishioners. Please inform one of the Ushers that you would like to receive Holy Communion so that they can pass this on to whoever is the Master of Ceremonies at that particular Mass.

A number of the Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist take Holy Communion to the sick or housebound who are unable to attend church and participate in the Sacrifice of the Mass. If you, or if someone you know, cannot come to Mass and would like to receive Holy Communion at home or in one of the nursing homes in the parish, please let Fr. John or the parish office know so that arrangements can be made.

In keeping with the requirements of the diocese, all Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist who visit vulnerable adults are DBS checked.