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Teach children the Catholic First Communion answers with St. Anne's Helper audio Baltimore Catechism, worksheets, and printable booklet.
If you use the Baltimore Catechism, you'll love our resources!
Here's an easy set to remember:
Oh, what a wonderful time! First Holy Communion is the first reception of the Holy Eucharist. Whether one is young or older, our First Communion day is one of the most beautiful days of one's life. Usually it is only second in one's life to one's ordination, wedding, or taking of vows.
This means that it's super important to prepare well without causing pressure or anxiety. Pray and study and you will prepare well if you are learning, or you can help your students prepare well if you are teaching.
The 1950s Baltimore Catechism makes it easy to learn the Catholic prayers, answers to the catechism questions, and the Catholic Ten Commandments. It has an easy and clear formula for the questions and answers that is easy for students to learn - with practice that is. What I like is that it's also improved some answers like changing the confession questions to the singular so children aren't confessing "our" sins. :-)
In preparing our students for their Catholic First Holy Communion (There are Anglican services. This site is dedicated to the Roman Catholic sacraments....), as catechists and as parents, we found that our students learned more easily when they memorized the short and clear Catholic answers in the Baltimore.
We have also found that many other parents and teachers wanted an easy way to teach the answers or help teaching them. Our recommendation is to stay with the 1885 and 1950s Baltimore Catechism for First Communion watching for the singular confession answers (I not we), Original sin, angels, etc. See a comparison between the different Catholic answers here.
The first most important thing when preparing for Communion is to pray. Teach the Act of Contrition and the Rosary prayers and pray them every day. This is great for kindergarten and first grade and even earlier at home.
Our spiritual disposition is the most important element in making a good Communion so I like to make a special moment before these daily prayers by making a reference to what we're learning and what great graces we will receive.
An awesome idea is to teach the prayers and Ten Commandments the year before the Communion year during kindergarten and first grade. This way there's less "work" to do during the actual First Communion year and therefor less pressure.
When our children were little and especially when they were in kindergarten and first grade we had them join us in answering the daily Rosary, the Angel of God prayer, (see the longer version that has excellent sentiments) and the Act of Contrition every night. Praying the family Rosary is the easiest way to learn the Holy Communion prayers.
By kindergarten or first grade they are ready for the Ten Commandments. Be sure the children learn the Catholic Ten Commandments as it can be hard to undo childhood mistakes later.
These Ten Commandment coloring pages are very helpful, too.
Usually a good First Communion class also includes some Communion saints like St. John the Baptist, St. Pius X and Blessed Imelda and some Bible stories like Adam and Eve (Creation, Original Sin), Noe and the ark, Abraham (Father of Faith), and Moses (Passover, Ten Commandments).
Telling the stories alone can be enough, especially if you are Sr. Mary Delightful or Mrs. Enthusiastic, but I find that it nice to have the books for pictures. I like to use a children's Bible and picture book of saints like a photo album so that I can flip through the pictures while I tell or read the stories.
We also like to be sure to take our own children to daily Mass as often as possible. The more often the children are able to see the Mass in practice for their First Communion, the more graces they will receive. They'll also be less anxious that beautiful day.
During the summers you can go to daily Mass and toward the front so that your children can see the altar and what happens. These extra trips to daily Mass add up to many more graces and are also a bit of an enticement to desire Holy Communion. This also helps the children to be more comfortable going to Mass.
Hint: Do not emphasize that they watch the Communion line. That can be a hard habit for them to break through the years.
Daily Mass is also a great teacher if you have boys who hope to become altar servers. The more times they see the Mass, the better they will remember their moves. If they can follow their Missal all the better for understanding what they'll do as altar boys and perhaps someday as priests and religious. Some children are mighty sharp by first and second grade.
There are several times we can help the children practice processing to the Communion rail:
If you are able to take your children to these events with the whole family, or class, they will know how to proceed in the Communion line with the confidence of having done it several times with Mom and Dad or with their class. When it comes time to explain the Communion procession all you'll have to say is, "It's just like the Feast of St. Blaise."
Since going to Confession is a major part of preparing well, eventually you'll want to give a tour or two of the confessional before the First Confession. If the First Communion class is not doing this, ask Father or Sister if you may show your children the confessional. Certainly you can show your children where it is in church and practice at home.
Practice going to Confession at home in a private place. This helps avoid embarrassments and distractions. The main thing to practice is the routine "Bless me Father for I have sinned...." elements, the prayers like the Rosary prayers and Act of Contrition. Father is likely to assign Hail Marys and Our Fathers for the Penance and the Act of Contrition as part of confession.
Since an examination of conscience depends on the Ten Commandments, these are very important to know while preparing for the sacrament of Penance - all throughout our lives.
A nice help with the Catholic Ten Commandments is to teach each one by itself with its number and also to have the student count with his fingers. In case he loses his place when he is reciting to Sister or you, he can more easily recover where he is. This is very helpful with any answers that have numbered responses.
I've seen the Ten Commandments Song used in some catechism classes where the tests were worded like it, so we have included the words to it on the First Communion Audio Catechism CD. It and an Apostle’s Creed Song can be found on the 24 Catholic Songs recording carried by Our Lady of Victory School in Post Falls, Idaho.
If your children or students know the Ten Commandments and main prayers in kindergarten, it's much easier to learn about the other questions. Learning the “tells” (number 22...) early can also help the student discern the “forbids” easier later in the year. The "tells" and "forbids" answers are usually too much for little children to memorize well (and too much for most of us adults!), yet they are very good for them to hear so as to make their first Confession easier.
Teaching anyone most any new information, adult or child, but especially teaching children about Holy Communion, requires some drill and much love. This is where the audio CDs have been a huge help, especially for our audio boy. Headphones worked like magic for him, he started understanding and repeating the right words immediately.
It really only takes about ten to fifteen weeks to cover the information in the catechism. You can start any time during the year and can add this to whatever else you're doing, or make a plan to start in September or February to coordinate with the school year.
Our family has found that once the teacher or parent has lovingly told the story of God's Creation, Adam's Fall, and God's promise of a Redeemer that most children have the love necessary to want to learn about their First Communion. This is often due to the gift of Faith received in Baptism and fostered by prayer; not talent, academics, or other resources. The children who remembered what Sister said best were the ones who did not have crayons and activities as distractions. Rev. Fr. Leo Pyzalski wrote an excellent book on this point, The School Sister's Vade Mecum. It was a huge relief to me, too, because he showed how the children learned better and loved Sister better without the activities.
If you're not seeing this love in your children don't worry, it usually doesn't gush forth which is good to keep it honorable and dignified through the year since receiving Communion should always be a solemn occasion.
It is important when teaching children about Communion that they know that the Blessed Sacrament (Communion) is the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus. Simple.
So many priests will ask this very question and some catechisms do not explicitly include this in the Q&As, meaning that they do not say it in so many words. Now you know ahead of time and can remember to teach it before Father asks.
What is the Mass? Many Catholics today do not know that the Mass is the sacrifice of Jesus' Body and Blood. Many have not even read the definition of what the Mass is, was and always will be. "The Mass is the offering to God the Father of Our Lord's Body and Blood." It is the sacrifice that effects, or makes, the sacrament of Holy Eucharist. Years ago, people used to learn the definition in Catechism class. If your catechism doesn't include these questions you might want to supplement it using Saint Anne's Helper's CDs and downloads. Me? I like to keep a copy of the CD in the van and one in the kitchen.
Today we look out over our class and wonder if the families ever even pray the Rosary and wonder whether the children will have help learning the Catholic prayers. It is so sad to see some children without help, or even adults who have no one with whom to practice their prayers and Catholic Ten Commandments. If this is the case, you can offer them the audio CDs. In case of necessity, contact us.
This is why we are super happy to offer our St. Anne's Helper Audio Catechisms and Catechism Worksheets (see below). They can help you answer this need. They are excellent for First Communion catechism class since they teach the truths related to the Mass and the Holy Eucharist as well as those about Baptism and the sacrament of Penance. They help your student learn the Catholic truths easily and to prepare for a holy reception of the sacraments as they begin to learn to know, love, and serve God in this world and to be happy with Him in Heaven.
We also have videos of the Rosary that have the words to the prayers. The bead moves, too, so it is easier to follow the Rosary. It's great for daily use. And like the downloads you can use these over and over.
St. Anne's Helper Audio Communion Catechism copybooks are super handy for having the children practice their answers in writing. Learning the answers orally can be enough, obviously, since books and paper were not easily available throughout the centuries. If your school or program requires that the children be able to write their answers, it is good to have the children copy the answers.
Copy work is a wonderful reinforcement, but I also hope that you can keep assignments super simple. Copying the answers can help with the memory work required in some parishes. They are a great help for reviewing for any cumulative quizzes, yet an oral review is so much handier and much more direct for most children. Take the time to help them review.
Once the student understands the questions, the audio CDs can be used to help with memorization. The printable worksheets can help with manuscript and cursive writing practice. This is true even in later years in school when you would like to give the children extra Catholic handwriting practice. Our First Communion copybook comes with both versions, manuscript and cursive, and you can print for as many children as you have.
We also have a printable Communion catechism booklet that has
We also have a printable coloring book that has many Catholic coloring pages and many secular coloring pages that are in their own files to use throughout the year for any class or activity.
In summary you might like to see these:
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