The purpose of receiving Holy Communion in the Christian religion is to remember the teachings and sacrifice of Jesus Christ through tangible means, namely the bread and wine. Children typically learn about Communion through formal church instruction, such as catechism classes, or from their parents. The age that children receive Holy Communion varies from denomination to denomination; usually the children are rather young. Some churches require a child to be baptized or take catechism classes prior to receiving Communion. Teaching children about Holy Communion is one way to encourage them in their personal faith.

Singing Hymns in Church

Take kids to mass or worship services often. Seeing you and the other parishioners receive Holy Communion will spark interest in kids about the sacrament. Explain that the bread represents Jesus’ body and the wine, His blood. Emphasize that these are simply symbols that stand for the willing sacrifice Jesus made by dying on the cross. Their participation in Holy Communion is an expression of their desire to let Jesus into their hearts.

Family reading the Bible

Read to the children passages from the Bible that pertain to Holy Communion. For example, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 describes the actions of Jesus Christ at the Last Supper, when he offered up the bread and wine to his disciples as symbols of his impending persecution and death. Explain that He died willingly for all Christians, following God's will to be the Savior. Tell them that just as Jesus celebrated with His followers, he wants them to celebrate until He comes again by taking part in Holy Communion.

Communion hosts or wafers and vestment

Start a conversation with kids about what they understand Holy Communion to mean. Ask them why Holy Communion is important to their faith. Emphasize that Jesus loves them unconditionally, and every time they celebrate Holy Communion, they are reaffirming that love. Use terms kids can understand; describe Jesus as their friend and someone who will always hear them and who wants to help them live in the Christian faith.

Close-up of a girl (11-13) wearing her first holy communion dress and holding prayer book

Describe the First Holy Communion ceremony to children so that they know what to expect. Tell them what kind of clothing is appropriate. Girls generally wear white dresses designed specifically for this religious occasion, and boys wear a suit or nice pants, a shirt and a tie. Let them know they will process into the church, surrounded by friends and family, and will receive Communion from the priest or minister. Show them how to hold their hands and how to express the appropriate reverence after receiving the sacrament by bowing their heads and praying to God.

Tip

  • Use a children’s Bible to read to the kids. The passages in these Bibles are easier for kids to understand and sometimes have pictures. Your priest or minister may be able to suggest additional written materials that explain your denomination's specific teachings concerning Holy Communion.