First Penance & First Holy Communion Preparation


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First Penance & First Holy Communion Preparation

"I also recommend that, in their catechetical training, and especially in their preparation for First Holy Communion, children be taught the meaning and the beauty of spending time with Jesus, and helped to cultivate a sense of awe before his presence in the Eucharist."

-- Pope Benedict XVI - Sacramentum Caritatis 67


The Eucharist, instituted by Christ at the Last Supper on the night before His passion, is a sacrament of the New Covenant -- the greatest of the sacraments. In this sacrament, the Lord becomes food for the soul under the appearances of bread and wine.

Children receive this sacrament solemnly a first time -- in First Holy Communion -- and are encouraged to receive it afterward as often as possible in order to remain in close friendship with Jesus.

Excerpt from Pope John Paul II ~ "Letter to Children" written in 1994 during the "Year of the Family" about the solemn importance of First Holy Communion

First Holy Communion Notebook
Notebooking is the coined term for what one may refer to as educational journaling or scrap-booking. Essentially, the idea is to create a compilation of what has been learned and experienced and organize it in a notebook (or binder).
Written narrations, copy work, timelines, reports, lists, observations, drawings, maps, photographs, mementos are just some of the items that he may include. The notebook pages he creates for his notebooks will capture the new knowledge he has discovered as well as his own personal reflections of what he has learned.

The finished notebook will prove to be a treasure for years to come as the child reviews all that he has learned and admires the elements that he brought to the subjects in making his very own book.

Two primary essentials needed in creating a notebook. There is a visual component and a written component. These two components work together to convey what the child has learned from his lessons.

  • Instead of filling in worksheets or answering a list of discussion questions to test what your child has learned, you are giving him the opportunity to "show" and "tell" in a variety of ways what he has learned.

  • Unlike more traditional methods, he will not soon forget what he has learned.

  • The end result of the process is a child who truly knows what he has learned and can express it to others.

  • He becomes a storyteller, a teacher, and an expert after spending such quality time with his studies.

Beginning the Prep and Notebook – celebrate the beginning of First Penance and First Communion Prep!

  • Set out Supplies, Books, Special Container

  • Light a Candle, Say a Prayer: Blessed Imelda, you showed us by the miracle of your First Communion how much Jesus loves us, and your short life was an example of how we should love Him. Look down on (name) from heaven and pray for her while she prepares to receive the Sacraments of First Penance and First Communion this year.

  • Listen to Blessed Imelda Glory Story

  • Coloring Page or illustration of Blessed Imelda

  • Pick out paper/colors for cover. Have tea/treat and celebrate!!

My Faith:

  1. What my name means & my Patron Saint. Related story, picture. Talk about why she likes patron saint, qualities she admires, how can we strive to be like St. xxxx

  2. God made the World and He made ME -Genesis. Copy work: Why did God make me? God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him for ever in heaven.
  3. Your Baptism – pictures and narration, read chapter in catechism.

  4. Blessed Trinity – narration and symbols

  5. Apostles' Creed – copy work

  6. Bible – narration and drawing. Memorize books of the Bible. Cut and paste them in order.

  7. Guardian Angel – copy prayer, illustrate

  8. List or copy work of prayers memorized. Or a Prayer Chart—sticker or holy card placed next to prayer.

  9. Gospel of Children (JPII) – cut and paste. The Holy Father Speaks to Children - Your First Holy Communion" with a picture of JPII

  10. Letter from Pope Benedict XVI to First Communicants

  11. Deuteronomy (Our family’s verse)

  12. Noah’s Ark – Noah is saved through the waters of the flood, as we are now saved through the waters of baptism.

  13. Eucharistic Adoration – making a monstrance, photo, importance of the True Presence, narration of Holy Thursday Altar of Repose. Make a holy hour with mom or dad.

  14. Our Lady ~ Any combination of stories, books, crafts, pictures, projects, etc. Consecration.

  15. A Peek Into Our Church ~ The Order of the Mass, what we see during Mass, naming vestments and articles on the altar and in the sanctuary. A Child's Missal, Patmos.

  16. Holy Mass Booklet. Talk about the various parts of the Mass.

  17. Resolutions made by St. Dominic Savio on the Day of his FHC - Copy work and wrote these out - then wrote their own resolutions
  18. Choose favorite Eucharistic Hymn. Learn, memorize, copy work. M-Panis Angelicus.

  19. Anima Christi prayer. Copy work and Memorize. (or other prayer to be said after Communion)

  20. Talk about and learn a Thanksgiving Prayer for after Communion

  21. Church Manners – CHC worksheet, color map 1-8

  22. Spiritual Communion – talk about, make up own or memorize.

  23. Special Prayers and Poetry

  24. Letter from child to Jesus asking to receive Communion

  25. Letter to child from us with our prayer for her.

  26. Pictures, mementos, cards from FHC day

First Penance:

  1. Original Sin – narration from Baltimore Catechism. Adam & Eve

  2. The 10 commandments (re-state in own words) The Ten Commandments, Lovasik

  3. The Prodigal Son, Luke 15:11-24. Go through the parable and show how the steps of Penance coincide with the son's process of repentance. CHC-page 156. Other stories in CHC.
  4. Examination of Conscience - “He thought about what he had done wrong.” O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended You. Devotional Stories: 65-69, Treasure Box #7, Rare Catholic Stories/Poems: 61-64, King Golden City: ch 1-2. Angel Food Stories. Other CHC stories in lesson plans. Talk about daily examen b4 bed. Make copy of Examen of Conscience for Children – decorate, cut and paste, border. Copy work: What is Examination of Conscience, from Baltimore Catechism.

  5. Sorrow for Sin. “He was sorry for what he had done.”I detest all my sins because of your just punishments, but most of all because they offend you, my God, who are all good and deserving of all my love. Devotional Stories 41-46. Treasure Box #3, 79-84. King Golden City, ch 3. More Rare 16-21. CHC Lesson plan story, 163-165 Zacchaeus, Luke 19:1-10~narration.

  6. Purpose of Amendment - “He made up his mind to go back to his father.” I firmly resolve with the help of thy grace. CHC story 167-168. Devotional Stories 61-64. Treasure Box #12-Why Should I? More Rare 1-11. King Golden City, ch 5.

  7. The Vine and the Branches, John 15:1,4,5. Focus in on the True Vine. It encourages the child to find themselves already attached to the vine through their baptism. It is in that living as part of the Body of Christ that they want to keep that sap (grace) flowing from the vine to the branches. In doing so they realize that they need to remove anything that might be blocking that flow. That can only be done through confession. And in receiving confession, the response is deeper communion with God through the Eucharist.

  8. Confession of Sins “He confessed his sins.” to confess my sins. CHC story 170-172. Devotional Stories 159-162. Treasure Box #4-More About St. Therese. King Golden City, ch.9.
  9. Scriptural Roots of Confessing Sins, John 20:19-23

  10. Penance. “He was ready to do anything his father said.” do penance, and to amend my life. CHC story 174-175. Rare Catholic Stories 47-52. King Golden City, ch.10.

  11. Preparation for First Confession. CHC-Page 176

  12. The Lost Coin

  13. The Lost Sheep, Luke 15:1-7. Good Shepherd.

  14. How to make a good confession (cut apart and paste them in order, with her own definition of the steps) Lovasik book, pg. 22

  15. To receive the Sacrament of Penance worthily, I must…..(cut apart and paste) Lovasik book

  16. The Act of Contrition – memorize and copy work

  17. Make a Confession Folder (exam-conscience, notecards, bible verses, act-contrition, steps to a good confession, other prayers)

  18. Copy work: Confession heals, confession justifies, confession grants pardon of sin. All hope consists in confession. In confession there is a chance for mercy. Believe it firmly. Do not doubt, do not hesitate, never despair of the mercy of God. Hope and have confidence in confession. ~St. Isidore of Seville

  19. Narration of First Penance

  20. Make a laminated Bookmark with the date, church name, confessor, photo.

  21. The Butterfly That Found Her Way Home: A Story of Forgiveness, Lademan/Brindle - narration/illustration
  22. Going to Confession, Lovasik

  23. The Ten Commandments, Lovasik

  24. Going to Confession: how to make a good confession, Lovasik

Old Testament foreshadowing of the Eucharist:

  1. Paschal Lamb (the last plague)-prefigurement of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God.33

  2. Manna from Heaven. NCPB 37

  3. Ark of the Covenant – the tabernacle is our new ark of the covenant . 67

  4. Psalm 110. M both priest and king who offered a special sacrifice of bread and wine. Christ offered an unbloody sacrifice at the last supper.

New Testament foreshadowing of the Eucharist:

  1. Jesus Christ is truly the Son of God. He is divine. He forgave sins. He worked miracles.

  2. Wedding at Cana narration John 2. Jesus changed water into wine and showed that he had power over material elements. NCPB 116

  3. Loaves and Fishes (Small Gifts in God’s Hands narration) again, showing power over material elements. NCPB 153.

  4. Jesus walked on water—showed power over his own body. 154

  5. Storm on the Sea—when Jesus speaks, it becomes a reality.
  6. The Last Supper—all the miracles rolled into one miracle. 192-195

  7. Resurrection—again, power over his own body. 213

  8. Road to Emmaus—the disciples did not recognize him until the breaking of the bread. We might not recognize him but he is really present. Because Jesus is glorified, he is not limited to normal physical limitations. 217

Bible Verses about the Eucharist – copy work

  • John 6:51 I am the Living bread which came down from heaven.

  • John 6:35 I am the bread of life.

  • Luke 22:19 Do this in memory of me.

  • Luke 7:7 Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed.

  • Malachi 1:11 From the rising of the sun to the setting of the sun, a perfect offering will be made.

Books, Stories, Resources:

  • The Weight of a Mass

  • The Little Caterpillar who Finds Jesus

  • Blessed Imelda Lambertini: Patron Saint of First Communicants, Windeatt

  • Glory Story CD of Blessed Immelda & St. Clare

  • Little Nellie of Holy God, Sister Mary Dominic R.G.S.

  • The Little Flower (St. Therese) – Windeatt – copy work of prayers

  • The Children of Fatima – Windeatt – cut and paste prayers of Fatima
  • Devotional Stories for Little Folks, Nancy Nicholson.

  • First Communion Days, Neumann Press

  • True Stories for First Communicants, Neumann Press

  • First Eucharist Story-Coloring Book from Our Father’s House

  • A Family Journey with Jesus Through Lent – bible stories about Jesus read throughout Lent

  • St. Patrick’s Summer, Marigold Hunt

  • King of the Golden City - CHC

  • Angel Food for Girls and Boys ~ Neumann Press. Lots of stories in there applicable for First Penance & FHC. Mackfam's list.

  • My First Holy Communion ~ by Rev. Morrow, available through CHC

  • Her Dream Came True: the life of Bl. Imelda Lambertini~OOP, Encounter Books-Daughters-St. Paul

  • CHC lessons plans for 2nd grade contain “Religion Supplement & Resource

  • An Illustrated Catechism, Inos Biffi

  • Rare Catholic Stories and Poems, CHC

  • More Rare Catholic Stories, CHC

  • Catholic Children's Treasure Box

  • Little Catechism on the Eucharist, New Hope Publications, CHC

  • New St. Joseph Baltimore Catechism, First Communion, No. 0

  • A Peek Into Our Church, Wendy Goody

  • A Child's Missal, Patmos

  • Jesus With Us: The Gift of the Eucharist, Anthony Tarzia

  • The Butterfly That Found Her Way Home: A Story of Forgiveness, Lademan/Brindle - narration
  • Receiving Holy Communion, Lovasik

  • Going to Confession, Lovasik

  • The Ten Commandments, Lovasik

  • Eucharistic Book for Children

  • Eucharistic Miracles and Saints

Shopping List:

  • 3-ring binder or scrapbook

  • page protectors

  • stickers – regular, religious, saints

  • pretty paper, lined paper, heavy card stock


  • glue stick, scissors, stencils

  • pretty pens & colored pencils

  • stamps, stamp pad

  • CHC Mass Holy Card Set and/or other holy cards

  • Cut out religious pictures from magazines, etc.


Make a Monstrance ~ Large gold doily, white paper plate, Stiff gold poster-board (or use white and spray paint it), Stiff white paper (or just use another paper plate) 

Staple a large gold doily to a white paper plate with the gold part of the doily facing out. This will form the top of the monstrance, and the plate will keep it from hanging limply. From the gold poster board, cut out a stem and base, and staple these to the bottom of the doily/paper plate. Cut a well-proportioned circle from the stiff white paper (or second paper plate), and glue to the center of the monstrance to represent a Host. Allow the children to decorate the host with a Chi Rho other appropriate symbol. If desired, embellished with plastic jewels or glitter glue. Take a picture of the child holding their monstrance, and place it in the notebook with a quote about the Eucharist, or bible verse, or definition of “monstrance.”

:: Various Other Eucharistic Crafts
Prayer to the Holy Spirit before Examination of Conscience

Come holy Spirit, help me to make a good confession
-know what my sins are
-be very sorry for my sins
-make up my mind not to sin again
-tell my sins to the priest

-do the penance the priest gives me


Blessing Before First Communion that is in Catholic Household Blessings and Prayers:

During the months when a child is preparing for first holy communion, and especially as the day approaches, parents may bless the candidate:

May the Lord Jesus touch your ears to receive his word, and your mouth to proclaim his faith. May you come with joy to his supper to the praise and glory of God. Amen.
Church manners - From worksheet for CHC color map through 1-8

::Upon entering I bless myself with holy water. This reminds me of the Holy Trinity, my Baptism and how much Jesus loves me. (He died on the cross for me!)

::Before entering the pew I adore Jesus Who is present in the tabernacle by genuflecting reverently
::Kneeling quietly, I prepare for Holy Mass. I open my heart to God in prayer.
::I do not want to disturb others prayers so I am very quiet and sit still in church.
::I pay close attention to the prayers at church because I know I am present at Jesus sacrifice.
::I participate in the prayers of the Mass and join my offering of self with Jesus
::I thank Jesus for His love and give Him all of mine!
::When Holy Mass is over I make a thanksgiving and prepare to go home and live the Mass!

_________________________________________________Copy work from Dominic Savio:

Resolutions which I, Dominic Savio, took at the age of seven, on my first Communion day, 1849.

  1. I will go to Penance often and receive Communion as often as my confessor allows;

  2. I will keep feast days holy;

  3. My friends shall be Jesus and Mary;

  4. Death but not sin!

Saint Dominic was twelve years old when he entered schooling at the Oratory run by Saint John Bosco. At the Oratory, Dominic practiced exemplary virtue in all aspects of life, with a particular devotion to Mary.

On the Feast of the Immaculate Conception in the year of 1854, Dominic knelt before Our Lady's Altar and prayed this prayer:

:::::::::::::Mary, I give you my heart. Always keep it yours. Jesus, Mary, always be my friends. I beg you, let me die rather than than be so unfortunate as to commit a single sin. :::::::::::::



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