Question of the Week: Explaining First Communion to Non-Catholics


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Our Question of the Week was originally posted on our Facebook page by reader Sunny:

As a Catholic, how can we describe the importance of First Communion to a non-Catholic? We had a whole weekend planned for our daughter (the First Communicant) and my family. We are getting grief because we can not attend a b-day party because she will be at a First Communion retreat and then we will have a party to celebrate her Communion where we plan to give her her gifts, dress, veil, etc. Can someone shed some light on explaining the importance of this event to a non-Catholic, devout Christian, just not Catholic. I would appreciate it. I am kind of at a loss without being ugly.

Please share your answers and experiences in the comment box below.


About Author

Barb Szyszkiewicz is a wife, mom, Secular Franciscan, managing editor for Today's Catholic Teacher magazine and editor at Her three children range in age from high school to young adult, and she enjoys writing, cooking, and reading. Barb is a music minister at her parish and an avid Notre Dame football and basketball fan. Find her blog at FranciscanMom and her family’s favorite recipes with nutrition information for diabetics at Cook and Count.


  1. Rather than getting into an argument about transubstantiation, the Protestant Reformation, etc., it’s easier just to say it’s a rite of passage. It’s like a christening, bar mitzvah, quinceanera, or wedding. Generally people seem to be more tolerant of culture than religion. “First Communion is a big deal in our culture,” might be enough to stop the murmuring.

    If, however, the birthday party hosts are actually interested in what occurs at First Communion, then it’s a wonderful time to share the details. It truly is a special, significant event in your daughter’s life!

  2. I like Alicia’s comment! Much better than the tongue-in-cheek one that ran through my mind:
    She’s about to consume the body and drink blood [of Jesus] for the first time, she needs a little time to prepare, yes?

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