Learning about Holy Communion in the Catholic Church can be fun.
Just read the new book, ‘Today I Made My First Communion’ ($19.95 by publisher Aunt Dee’s Attic), written by Dianne Ahern, who grew up on a farm near Dwight.
Although it explains the Catholic church’s sacrament of Holy Communion and its origins in terms children 9-12 years can understand, their parents also may find it a learning experience.
Ahern’s latest book is structured into three parts all within the same book: the story, a very handy reference section of definitions and a memory book.
The author says she made her First Communion at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Campus, Illinois, at the age of 7. Growing up on a nearby family farm, she learned to appreciate her faith, family, and freedom to pursue the world.
The book tells the story about the steps Catholics take to prepare for First Communion through the eyes of two children, Riley and Maria, who are about 8 years old. Both are very concerned that the 12 weeks of classes will be really hard — even confusing.
But Father Hugo makes the experience interesting by presenting it as the “Mystery of the Eucharist.”
The clues to solve the mystery can be found as the children study different elements of the Catholic religion: Prayers, the Commandments, parts of Mass, and, of course, what Communion actually means.
Father Hugo said, “When you and I receive the Body and Blood of Jesus in Holy Communion, we receive special sacramental graces that help us to live our lives according to His rules. And, if we believe in Him, love our neighbors, and live our lives according to the Commandments, we will live forever with God in heaven.”
The text is broken up by the eye-catching illustrations of Katherine Larson. One is a large, colorful picture of the interior of a church which names all the different parts, from stained glass windows to the holy water font. Their definitions are explained on the next page. Behind that are pages giving prayers, explaining the Rosary and giving a detailed explanation for each part of the Mass.
Adults who are not familiar with the Catholic faith, will find these pages very helpful.
At the end of the book are seven pages where children can put the name and pictures of the people who shared the day with them to help make the First Communion experience even more memorable.
There is a lot to learn, so children may need several nights to absorb everything, listening and asking questions as they go. But the book will help them understand that going to church is much more important than just a Sunday morning habit.
The author has also written “Today I Was Baptized, “Today We Became Engaged” and other books.