Of the seven sacraments, the Eucharist is most central to the Church’s life. We call it the “source and summit of the Christian life.” As a human being needs physical food for nourishment of the body, so a Catholic longs for the Eucharist as spiritual food (John 6:53). The Eucharist is also a participation in Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross, and this participation leads to praise and thanksgiving. It is our highest act of worship. Thus, the Eucharist is simultaneously meal and sacrifice.
The Eucharist was instituted by Jesus at the last supper, where he exhorted the apostles to continue its celebration: “Do this in memory of me.” It is an anticipation of and a participation in the heavenly liturgy (Matthew 26:29, Revelation 4-22, see 7:9-10).
Students in our religious education program make their first Holy Communion in 2nd grade. They make their first sacramental confession sometime before this, in order to be as much as possible in a state of grace for their first Communion.