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The Baptismal Catechumenate as Model for First Holy Communion Catechesis
How might First Communion catechesis be carried out if it is based on the Catechumenal model? Having laid the foundation for the baptismal catechumenate as the model for all catechesis, we are able to illustrate how these principles are or can be applied pastorally to catechetical instruction of children preparing to receive First Holy Communion. The catechesis of children begins in the home. As the primary educators of their children, parents form their children humanly and spiritually by instruction and example. Parents plant the seeds of the Christian faith within their children. This is analogous to the pre-catechumenate, where the initial evangelization takes place. Children are introduced to God and Catholic piety for the first time by their parents. When a child is taken to Holy Mass, he gains a sense of the Eucharistic mystery, rudimentary as his understanding might be. Eventually, he will grow in understanding of the Eucharist through the experience of the liturgy and the teachings and example of his parents.[x] Once the child reaches the age of reason, he is ready to continue catechesis in preparation for First Holy Communion in a more formal manner. Formal catechetical instruction corresponds to the catechumenate, whereby he will be systematically taught the Church’s teaching on the Holy Eucharist by his pastor and a catechist. This catechesis will, in turn, enable the child’s parents to catechize more effectively. During this period of formal catechesis, there are certain essential truths of the faith that must be taught which are outlined in the National Directory for Catechesis.