Communion, or the Holy Eucharist, is the most important Catholic sacrament. According to Catholic understanding, it allows them to receive Jesus's body, blood and divinity. Through this act, Catholics believe they receive forgiveness for some sins and obtain strength to resist future temptation. All of these aspects cause Catholics to take communion very seriously, and therefore they have strict requirements for anyone who wishes to receive it for the first time.
According to St. Mary's Catholic Church in Sandusky, Ohio, only Christians who have been baptized with water in the name of the Trinity (the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit) are eligible to receive Catholic communion. However, in extreme emergencies, people can be brought into the Catholic church without being baptized. In these cases, an "extraordinary minister" can give them communion as soon as they have been received into the church.
Outside of emergency situations, people who wish to receive their first communion in the Catholic church must participate in at least one year of religious education. In the case of children who are raised as Catholics, this instruction usually occurs before second or third grade. However, most churches also offer programs to educate older children or adults who did not meet this requirement at a young age.
The Catholic church requires its members to take part in confession, or the Sacrament of Reconciliation, before receiving their first communion. While this requirement can sometimes be waived if the person's life is in immediate danger, he or she must first sincerely repent of any sins and commit to going to confession as soon as possible. Even after receiving their first communion, Catholics should go to confession after knowingly and willingly committing any serious sin.
The Catholic church expects all those who wish to receive communion, whether for the first time or the thousandth, to meet several requirements first. Besides those mentioned elsewhere in this article, you must believe in the doctrine of transubstantiation, which teaches that the Eucharistic bread and wine literally become Christ's body and blood. Additionally, you should fast from all food and drink for at least one hour before receiving communion, unless you are physically unable to do so. Finally, you should not receive communion if you have been excommunicated.
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