First Communion

Catholic Prayer Book for Children

Book cover: 'Catholic Prayer Book for Children'
Author(s):
Julianne M. Will
Copyright:
2004
Publisher:
Our Sunday Visitor
Binding:
Sewn Hardcover
Number of pages:
64 pages
Subject(s):
First Communion
Review:

This is a very nice children's prayer book illustrated with full-color cartoon-like pictures. The book includes:

  • Traditional prayers like the Hail Mary, Our Father and Morning Offering
  • Prayers of the Saints, like Prayer of Saint Francis and Breastplate of St. Patrick
  • Prayers and Mysteries of the Rosary (including the Luminous mysteries)
  • Psalms from the Bible
  • Some special prayers written just for children
  • Gentle invitations for children to talk to God in their own words too.
  • A segment on "Going to Confession" which includes instructions as well as prayers
  • "Stuff Every Catholic Kid Should Know" like Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy and the Ten Commandments
  • "Prayers from the Mass"

I was pleased to see that the Scripture Citations are from the Revised Standard Version: Catholic Edition (the best modern translation of the Bible). This book is particularly well-suited for a First Communion or Birthday gift for a godchild or for parishes or Catholic organizations to give as gifts to First Communicants. It would be nice to put such an attractive and substantial booklet in the hands of every child (so many Catholic children grow up without understanding many of the basics covered by this book). The publisher has made this more feasible by offering it in softcover at such a reasonable price of under four dollars!

Perspective:
Catholic
Additional notes:
Binding details: available in hardback or softcover
Reviewed By:
Alicia Van Hecke
Review Date:
5-12-04

Come to Jesus! A Kid’s Book for Eucharistic Adoration

Author(s):
Anne Flanagan, FSP
Copyright:
2006
Publisher:
Pauline Books and Media
Binding:
Softcover
Number of pages:
48 pages
Subject(s):
Religion
First Communion
Grade / Age level:
Grades 3-5
Review:

Cultivating a devotion to the Blessed Sacrament through Eucharistic Adoration is an excellent way to keep children Catholic. Those who love Jesus in the Sacrament are less likely to leave Him and will have a lifelong joy in His presence. But, from my own experience taking my children to Adoration, it does take planning and preparation. What is a young child to think, say, and do while sitting in front of the Blessed Sacrament for a whole hour? This book gives some practical suggestions in the form of planned outlines for three different Adoration hours.

Each of the 3 outlines has a theme for meditation: We Adore Jesus Who Promises Living Water; We Adore Jesus with His First Followers; We Adore Jesus Who Give Us What is Good. Each outline is divided into 3 parts: Jesus the Way, Jesus the Truth, and Jesus the Life. The hour begins with an opening prayer. In the section “Jesus the Way” there is a scripture reading followed by a quiet time. In “Jesus the Truth,” there is a prayer of repentance and another quiet time. In “Jesus the Life,” there is a litany of praise and prayers of intercession followed by quiet time. Near the end the children are instructed to pray a prayer of spiritual communion.

Intended for groups, this could be adapted for use by a family. The instructions to speak out loud while the children are in quiet time could be modified so as not to be so intrusive. Also, in the “Practical Recommendations for Using this Book with Groups” section at the back of the book, there are explanations of some gestures that the children could use that may not be those in accepted use by individual families, for example, raising hands during intercessory prayer. But the suggestions for a method to move through a holy hour could help a family who wants to start this devotion, but doesn’t know where to begin. It also might be useful for homeschool cooperative groups who want to make a holy hour. For some families, there may not be enough for a whole hour with each outline. We like to add praying the Rosary to our Adoration time. And each child brings his own devotional reading material.

Other resources for encouraging Eucharistic devotion in children include the following:

the website of Father Antoine and his book Praying in the Presence of the Lord for Children;

Eucharistic Texts and Prayers throughout Church History by Daniel Guernsey;

Eucharistic Adoration Coloring Book by Katherine Sotnik;

I THE LORD AM WITH YOU ALWAYS: Prayers and Meditations for Eucharistic Adoration compiled by Christine McCarthy

the Real Presence website.

Perspective:
Catholic
Reviewed By:
Margot Davidson
Review Date:
5-14-2007
Available From:
Adoremus Books
Available From:
Aquinas and More

First Communion

Book cover: 'First Communion'
Copyright:
1954
Publisher:
Our Lady's Catechists / C.W.L.
Binding:
Softcover
Number of pages:
28 pages
Subject(s):
First Communion
Review:

Companion to First Confession from Our Lady's Catechists.

In a style very similar to its companion volume, this little book teaches everything that an elementary-school-aged child needs to know to prepare for a holy First Communion. These books may be the first "homeschooling" books ever written on this topic! From page 1: "It should not be forgotten that the ultimate responsibility for the child's spiritual upbringing rests on the parents." Charming full-color illustrations appear throughout the book.

The fourteen lessons describe what Holy Communion is, why we need Holy Communion, and how to prepare to receive Our Lord. In addition, lessons include several Bible stories that provide a gentle apologetic introduction to the Eucharist such as the manna in the desert, miracles performed by Our Lord, and the Last Supper. Prayers for both before and after the reception of Holy Communion are included as well as a "review" question-and-answer page. The lesson titled "On the Day" gives instruction for receiving the Eucharist kneeling and on the tongue, but the general tone of reverence is very applicable for those who receive in the hand. The current one-hour fast rule has been updated in the text from that in practice when originally published.

Perspective:
Catholic
Additional notes:
Imprimatur
Reviewed By:
Susan Kalis
Review Date:
8-5-04
Available From:
St. Francis Books

First Communion Card Kit - Thank You Cards from Illuminated Ink

Publisher:
Illuminated Ink
Subject(s):
First Communion
Grade / Age level:
Grades K-2
Review:

The First Communion Card Kit Thank You Cards come in packs of five, ten or twenty cards. The front of the card has a lattice work window with a design underneath. This card is unique in that the kit includes pieces of colored cellophane for the window panes to create a stained glass effect. Inserts for under the window include the words “Thank You” along with an inspirational picture of wheat, grapes, and a host for the child to color. This insert works as both a backdrop for the window and a blank inside for the card. Once completed, the child will have a beautiful personal gift he or she can send as a thank you. Instructions, translucent vellum envelopes, and tiny metal brads to open the windows are also included.

Perspective:
Catholic
Reviewed By:
Elizabeth Yank
Review Date:
5-2-2006
Available From:
Emmanuel Books

First Communion Days

Book cover: 'First Communion Days'
Copyright:
1920
Publisher:
Neumann Press
Binding:
Sewn Hardcover
Number of pages:
96 pages
Subject(s):
First Communion
Review:

This book consists of twelve true stories of children preparing for and receiving their first Holy Communion.The stories are sweet and inspiring and present many fine examples of real devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and how real children themselves made their hearts ready for Jesus. Some of the stories are of "little saints" who always strove to do what was right, while others involve children who struggled to overcome tempers, selfishness and other temptations. Two particularly touching stories are about children who received their first communion on their death bed. This would make an excellent supplement for your child's First Communion preparation. It is just this sort of book which helps the child's Catechism studies "come alive".

Perspective:
Catholic
Reviewed By:
Alicia Van Hecke
Review Date:
1999
Available From:
By Way of the Family

First Eucharist Story-Coloring Book

Book cover: 'First Eucharist Story-Coloring Book'
Copyright:
1996
Publisher:
Our Father's House
Number of pages:
16 pages
Subject(s):
First Communion
Review:

This book presents a beautiful way to introduce children to the mystery of the Holy Eucharist. The text is adapted from The Child in the Church by Maria Montessori. The story on each page presents fodder for discussion as the child colors in the beautiful borders which are rich in Catholic symbolism. My daughter loves to have me color with her - so we've colored in the pictures together as we discuss the content. Also included are information on how to use the book, explanations of symbols, and questions to help in discussing each page.

Perspective:
Catholic
Reviewed By:
Alicia Van Hecke
Review Date:
1999
Available From:
Our Father's House

Jesus and I

Book cover: 'Jesus and I'
Author(s):
Father Aloysius J. Heeg, S.J.
Copyright:
1958
Publisher:
Loyola Press
Binding:
Softcover
Number of pages:
138 pages
Subject(s):
First Communion
First Confession
Review:

Jesus and I remains a delightful catechism used to prepare both older and younger children for their First Confession and First Holy Communion. In use for decades, the content is solid yet presented in a manner that is clear and usable with young students. Gentle black and white drawings appeal to more sensitive and/or younger children who shy away from more graphic pictures in modern texts.

Jesus and I is organized into very short lessons that lend themselves to direct, oral teaching and discussion. It is designed to be used BY the teacher WITH the student, not by handing the book to the student to read and fill in answers by himself. The book begins with several pages of prayers that we should know by heart. The lesson titles are phrases from these prayers, and the lesson content explains that particular phrase. For example, the lesson titled "Angel of God, my guardian dear" explains Catholic teachings on angels. The lesson titled "And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus" explains the Incarnation. As the children memorize their prayers, they are also being taught what the prayers mean.

Each lesson begins with a narrative written in simple, short sentences. This is followed by the "How Many Can You Answer?" section of questions for the youngest students. Next are the "Can You Also Answer These?" questions for older students, which come from the First Communion Catechism in use when the book was originally written. The book ends with sections on "When I Go to Confession" and "When I Go to Holy Communion" followed by a summary of all of the First Communion Catechism questions.

Perspective:
Catholic
Additional notes:
1958 Imprimatur updated in 1978 with permission
Reviewed By:
Susan Kalis
Review Date:
10-29-05
Available From:
Stella Maris Books

The King of the Golden City: An Allegory for Children

Book cover: 'The King of the Golden City: An Allegory for Children'
Author(s):
Mother Mary Loyola
Copyright:
1921
Publisher:
Little Way Press
Binding:
Softcover
Number of pages:
120 pages
Subject(s):
First Communion
Blessed Sacrament
Review:

This is a simple, old-fashioned allegory about our relationship with Jesus and our journey to heaven (the "King" and the "Golden City"). The story is about a girl named Dilecta who struggles in the "Land of Exile" to keep her "hut" in order in order to be prepared for the King's visits, keep her "lamp" of peace burning brightly and control "Self", and listen to her "Prince Guardian" who helps to keep her out of the snatches of Malignus.

My daughter (2nd grader) enjoyed listening to the story and figuring out what each part of the story was trying to say in "real life". Sometimes children enjoy this sort of challenge of uncovering ideas that are somewhat hidden - working at the ideas can help to make them more meaningful.

This book covers a great deal of material in a simple manner - children are introduced to basic components of the spiritual life and encouraged to develop a strong relationship with our Lord through the Sacraments and a detachment from the things of this world.

This would make a nice religion supplement for young homeschooled children, but may be less appealing to those who have already been more exposed to today's culture.

Update: Over the years we have returned to this lovely book again and again (especially when we have a child preparing for First Communion) - and were delighted to be introduced to this new full-color edition with lovely old-fashioned illustrations and beautiful, glossy pages.

Perspective:
Catholic
Reviewed By:
Alicia Van Hecke
Review Date:
3-8-2005

My Path to Heaven

Book cover: 'My Path to Heaven'
Author(s):
Geoffrey Bliss, S.J.
Illustrator(s):
Caryll Houselander
Copyright:
1997
Publisher:
Sophia Institute Press
Binding:
Sewn Softcover
Number of pages:
89 pages
Subject(s):
Virtues
First Communion
Lent
Review:

This is one of the nicest educational materials I've come across (and I think that's saying a lot). What this book amounts to is a simplified form of the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius, designed to be understood by children. This is cleverly done with a very detailed picture for each of the twelve chapters. The child studies the details of the pictures and then the parent or the child reads the text (two or three pages) which explains the details of the pictures. The child is then invited to look at the picture again. The text is read a second time and then a list of ten to twenty yes or no questions are asked to reinforce the text and determine how well the child understood it. This is not just another religion text teaching facts, but a very persuasive text leading children to desire holiness and the greatest good in their lives. The publisher gives permission for parents to photocopy the pictures for their own children to color while studying the text, which might enhance their interest in the pictures and their ability to notice all of the little details. The book is recommended for children ages nine through twelve, although I've heard from a number of homeschoolers (and found the same to be true in my own family) that younger children and adults will benefit from it as well. Particularly nice for Lent/Holy Week or for First Communion Preparation.

Perspective:
Catholic
Additional notes:
Copyrights 1936/1997
Reviewed By:
Alicia Van Hecke
Review Date:
3-25-2000
Available From:
Adoremus Books
Available From:
All Catholic Books
Available From:
Aquinas and More
Available From:
By Way of the Family
Available From:
Catholic Shopper
Available From:
Emmanuel Books
Available From:
Our Father's House

Saint Joseph First Communion Catechism

Book cover: 'Saint Joseph First Communion Catechism'
Copyright:
1963
Publisher:
Catholic Book Publishing Company
Binding:
Softcover
Number of pages:
64 pages
Subject(s):
First Communion
Review:

This beautifully illustrated (in full-color) gem is designed to prepare a child for First Communion and would be appropriate for Kindergarten through second grade. The text follows the Baltimore Catechism, but also includes basic prayers, parts of the Mass and Holy Days of Obligation. In a few places, the explanations given to expand upon the Baltimore Catechism are not as well-written as I'd like them to be, but for the most part they are quite good. For some reason, the text has taken some of the Catechism questions out of order, so that the child learns about sin and its consequences before studying about Our Lord coming to earth to save us. I prefer the original order (which can be done by following the questions in numerical order) so that young children learn about God's love for us before going too deep into the evils of sin and the devil. Many homeschoolers use this as a supplement to other texts (such as the Faith and Life series - partly because the wording of the questions in this text is more succint than the wording in the Faith and Life series) for the purpose of memorizing the Catechism questions and enjoying the pictures.

Perspective:
Catholic
Additional notes:
Binding details: softcover (stapled)
Reviewed By:
Alicia Van Hecke
Review Date:
5-13-2000
Available From:
Emmanuel Books
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