The First Communion is a special event in Christian communities, particularly the Roman Catholic Church, and is the third of the Church’s seven sacraments. White is often worn, symbolizing purity. First communion is generally celebrated when children are seven or eight years of age, when they are considered to be capable of reason, and to understand the change of the wafer to the Body of Christ and appreciate the devotion to the Mass.
Rosary beads are the most traditional First Communion gift. The rosary is a meditation and prayer tool to celebrate the 15 traditional and five most recent mysteries or events in Jesus’ and his mother, the Blessed Mary’s lives. Rosary beads are made of various materials, most commonly crystals and semi-precious stones, glass, polished woods, bone, silver and even gold. They are designed to allow your fingers to track the number of prayers said in order to free the mind from distraction.
Missals often accompany rosary beads as the most traditional of gifts, and are sometimes sold together as a gift set. It is not unusual to have the recipient’s name or initials tooled in gold on the cover, which is typically a soft leather or vinyl. A Bible is another popular gift although not as customary as a missal. Missals follow the Mass and this represents the recipient’s full participation in and understanding of all elements of the Holy Mass. Additionally, many prayer books are available that are suited to children of varying ages.
Jewelry is another traditional gift, among boys as well as girls, in the form of a holy medal, or a crucifix, worn on a chain around the neck. The crucifix can be plain or contain the form of Jesus on the cross. Medals can be of several kinds, from the Miraculous Medal (or Medal of the Immaculate Conception) to medals honoring various patron saints, including St. Christopher, St. Anthony, St. Joseph and St. Jude. If the child has a saint’s name, that patron saint’s medal is often given instead. A more modern variation of this, for young girls, is the charm bracelet where charms can later be added, celebrating Confirmation or other special events. Medals are traditionally blessed by a priest or deacon before wearing the first time.
The Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel is considered to be the most desirable of all the scapulars, and represents a particular devotion to the Blessed Mother. It is often worn in combination with the Miraculous Medal and should also be blessed before the recipient first wears it.
Holy Water Font
A holy water font is a tiny, open receptacle, often affixed to the door to the child’s bedroom, permitting them to bless themselves as they go in and out. Most churches sell bottles of holy water, water that has been blessed by a priest, which are then used to refill the font. They are most often found made of glazed and painted ceramic.
First Communion Candle
A personalized First Communion candle makes a lovely gift and is highly symbolic. The living flame represents life, hope, joy, divinity and courage, while candles represent hope, resurrection and faith in Christ, reminding the child that Jesus is the light of the world. Candles can be lit on special occasions or done regularly when praying.
- Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images