First Communion is a ceremony in some Christian traditions during which a person first receives the Eucharist. It is most common in the Latin Church tradition of the Catholic Church, as well as in many parts of the Lutheran Church and Anglican Communion. In churches that celebrate First Communion, it typically occurs between the ages of seven and thirteen, often acting as a rite of passage.
Catholics believe this event to be very important, as the Eucharist occupies a central role in Catholic theology and practice.
First Communion is not celebrated in the Eastern Orthodox churches, the Oriental Orthodox churches, or the Assyrian Church of the East, as they practice infant communion (which often is simultaneously administered with infant baptism and confirmation). Some Anglicans allow infant communion, while others require the previous reception of confirmation, usually during the teenage years.[ dubious ]
Celebration of this ceremony is typically less elaborate in many Protestant churches. Catholics and some Protestants believe that Christ is truly present in the Eucharist, although only Catholics and some Anglo-Catholics of the Anglican Communion believe this is through transubstantiation.
Other denominations have varying understandings, ranging from the Eucharist being a symbolic meal to a meal of remembering Christ's last supper.
The sacrament of First Communion is an important tradition for Catholic families and individuals. For Latin Church Catholics, Holy Communion is usually the third of seven sacraments received; it occurs only after receiving Baptism, and once the person has reached the age of reason (usually, around the second grade). First confession (the first sacrament of penance) must precede one's first reception of the Eucharist. For those entering into the Catholic Church as adults, Confirmation occurs immediately before first Communion. In 1910, Pope Pius X issued the decree Quam singulari , which changed the age at which First Communion is taken to 7 years old. Previously, local standards had been 10 or 12 or even 14 years old.Byzantine Catholics celebrate the sacraments of baptism, confirmation (Chrismation), and Holy Communion on the same day as an infant's baptism.
Traditions of celebration surrounding First Communion usually include large family gatherings and parties to celebrate the event. The first communicant wears special clothing. The clothing is often white to symbolize purity, but not in all cultures. Often, a girl wears a fancy dress and a veil attached to a chaplet of flowers or some other hair ornament. In other communities, girls commonly wear dresses passed down to them from sisters or mothers, or even simply their school uniforms with the veil or wreath. Boys may wear a suit and tie, tuxedo, their Sunday best, or national dress, with embroidered armbands worn on the left arm and occasionally white gloves.
In many Latin American countries, boys wear military-style dress uniforms with gold braid aiguillettes. In Switzerland, both boys and girls wear plain white robes with brown wooden crosses around their necks. In Spain, Germany, Luxembourg, Austria, and Guam, girls are dressed up as little brides, although this has been partly replaced by albs in recent times.
In Scotland, boys traditionally wear kilts and other traditional Scottish dress which accompany the kilt. In the Philippines, First Communion services often occur on or around the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (the country's patron saint), with boys donning either the Barong Tagalog or semi-formal Western dress, and girls a plain white dress and sometimes a veil.
Gifts of a religious nature are usually given, such as rosaries, prayer books, religious statues, icons, and holy cards. Monetary gifts are also common.
Many families have formal professional photographs taken in addition to candid snapshots in order to commemorate the event. Some churches arrange for a professional photographer after the ceremony.
Anointing of the sick, known also by other names, is a form of religious anointing or "unction" for the benefit of a sick person. It is practiced by many Christian churches and denominations.
Chrismation consists of the sacrament or mystery in the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Eastern Catholic churches, as well as in the Assyrian Church of the East initiation rites. The sacrament is more commonly known in the West as confirmation, although Italian normally uses cresima ("chrismation") rather than confermazione ("confirmation").
In Christian denominations that practice infant baptism, confirmation is seen as the sealing of Christianity created in baptism. Those being confirmed are known as confirmands. In some denominations, such as the Anglican Communion and Methodist Churches, confirmation bestows full membership in a local congregation upon the recipient. In others, such as the Roman Catholic Church, confirmation "renders the bond with the Church more perfect", because, while a baptized person is already a member, "reception of the sacrament of Confirmation is necessary for the completion of baptismal grace".
A rite is an established, ceremonial, usually religious, act. Rites in this sense fall into three major categories:
The cope is a liturgical vestment, more precisely a long mantle or cloak, open in front and fastened at the breast with a band or clasp. It may be of any liturgical colour.
Infant communion refers to the practice of giving the Eucharist, often in the form of consecrated wine, to young children. This practice is standard in the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Eastern Catholic Churches; here, communion is given at the Divine Liturgy to all baptized and chrismated church members regardless of age. Infant communion is less common in most other Christian denominations, including the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church.
The sacraments of initiation are the three sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist. As such, they are distinguished from the Sacraments of healing and from the Sacraments of Service.
Eucharistic discipline is the term applied to the regulations and practices associated with an individual preparing for the reception of the Eucharist. Different Christian traditions require varying degrees of preparation, which may include a period of fasting, prayer, repentance, and confession.
Eucharistic theology is a branch of Christian theology which treats doctrines concerning the Holy Eucharist, also commonly known as the Lord's Supper. It exists exclusively in Christianity and related religions, as others generally do not contain a Eucharistic ceremony.
Catholicity is a concept pertaining to beliefs and practices widely accepted across numerous Christian denominations, most notably those that describe themselves as Catholic in accordance with the Four Marks of the Church, as expressed in the Nicene Creed of the First Council of Constantinople in 381: "[I believe] in one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church."
Conversion to Christianity is the religious conversion of a previously non-Christian person to Christianity. Converts to Christianity typically make a vow of repentance from past sins, accept Jesus as their Savior and vow to follow his teachings as found in the New Testament.
In keeping with its prevailing self-identity as a via media or "middle path" of Western Christianity, Anglican sacramental theology expresses elements in keeping with its status as a church in the Catholick tradition and a church of the Reformation. With respect to sacramental theology the Catholic tradition is perhaps most strongly asserted in the importance Anglicanism places on the sacraments as a means of grace, sanctification and forgiveness as expressed in the church's liturgy.
Anglican eucharistic theology is diverse in practice, reflecting the comprehensiveness of Anglicanism. Its sources include prayer book rubrics, writings on sacramental theology by Anglican divines, and the regulations and orientations of ecclesiastical provinces. The principal source material is the Book of Common Prayer, specifically its eucharistic prayers and Article XXVIII of the Thirty-Nine Articles. Article XXVIII comprises the foundational Anglican doctrinal statement about the Eucharist, although its interpretation varies among churches of the Anglican Communion and in different traditions of churchmanship such as Anglo-Catholicism and Evangelical Anglicanism.
Baptismal clothing is apparel worn by Christian proselytes during the ceremony of baptism. White clothes are generally worn because the person being baptized is "fresh like the driven manna".
The sacrament of holy orders in the Catholic Church includes three orders: bishop, priest, and deacon. In the phrase "holy orders", the word "holy" simply means "set apart for some purpose." The word "order" designates an established civil body or corporation with a hierarchy, and ordination means legal incorporation into an order. In context, therefore, a group with a hierarchical structure that is set apart for ministry in the Church.
Confirmation in the Lutheran Church is a public profession of faith prepared for by long and careful instruction. In English, it is called "affirmation of baptism", and is a mature and public reaffirmation of the faith which "marks the completion of the congregation's program of confirmation ministry".
This is a glossary of terms used within the Catholic Church.
Ellen Organ or "Little Nellie of Holy God" was an Irish child, venerated by some in the Roman Catholic Church for her precocious spiritual awareness and alleged mystical life. Particularly dedicated to the Eucharist, the story of her life inspired Pope Pius X to admit young children to Holy Communion. In 1910, Pope Pius X issued the decree Quam singulari, which lowered the age of Holy Communion for children from 12 years to around 7.
There are seven sacraments of the Catholic Church, which according to Catholic theology were instituted by Jesus and entrusted to the Church. Sacraments are visible rites seen as signs and efficacious channels of the grace of God to all those who receive them with the proper disposition. The sevenfold list of sacraments is often organized into three categories: the sacraments of initiation, consisting of Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist; the sacraments of healing, consisting of Penance and Anointing of the Sick; and the sacraments of service: Holy Orders and Matrimony.
A sacrament is a Christian rite recognized as of particular importance and significance. There are various views on the existence and meaning of such rites. Many Christians consider the sacraments to be a visible symbol of the reality of God, as well as a means by which God enacts his grace. Many denominations, including the Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Methodist, and Reformed, hold to the definition of sacrament formulated by Augustine of Hippo: an outward sign of an inward grace that has been instituted by Jesus Christ. Sacraments signify God's grace in a way that is outwardly observable to the participant.
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