For catechists and parents

Eucharist: Together as a Family

During preparation for Eucharist, we recall our Baptism. Through baptism we become children of God. Because of our baptism we are called to live as children of God. We are called to serve one another and love one another, just as Jesus did.
The Eucharist nourishes us for our Christian life. We gather for Mass to pray together and to share a meal. Through the Eucharist we become the Body of Christ in the world.
As we prepare children to come to the table of the Lord, it is important for us to help them understand that being the Body of Christ in the world means serving one another. Help the children understand what it means to be Bread for the hungry and the poor.
We live in a society of instant gratification. We can put coins in machines and immediately a snack or a soda appears. We can pull up to a drive-thru window of a fast-food restaurant and have an entire meal in minutes. Help children understand that for some people, hunger is a real and life-threatening experience. Help them develop patterns which raise consciousness and encourage them to make regular contributions to food shelves or shelters.

“I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.”
  (Based on Matthew 25:35)

  • As a family, prepare a holiday meal with all the trimmings and donate it to a food shelf, or deliver it to someone who is homebound.
  • Volunteer time at the local food shelf. Food shelves need people to organize donations for storage and distribution.
  • Make homemade desserts for a shelter.
  • Learn more about hunger in the world and what you can do to help.
  • Look into purchasing livestock for a poor community in another part of the world through organizations such as Heifer Project International.

Chapter 1: We Belong, Family Activities
In this chapter, your child learned about Baptism and the difference that being baptized makes in our lives. Choose one of the activities below to do together as a family.

  • Gather the whole family together and share pictures and stories about each person’s baptism.
  • Place a bowl of water on the dining room table. Before each meal, invite everyone to bless themselves as a remembrance of their baptism.
  • Talk together about what each person likes best about belonging to your parish community.
  • Visit the baptismal font at your church. Bless yourselves with the water and pray the sign of the cross.
  • Talk about what your baptism prepares you to do. What difference has it made in your life?
  • Follow For Decades (download pdf)

Chapter 2: We Gather, Family Activities
In this chapter your child learned about the first Christians. They gathered in their homes. They shared all things in common. They prayed together and cared for one another. Choose one of the activities below to do together as a family.

  • Talk about how your family is like the first Christians.
  • Talk about how your parish is like the first Christians. You might want to look at your parish bulletin when you do this activity—it will give you some clues.
  • Look at today’s newspaper to find stories about people who live like the first Christians.
  • Make a list of ways to show that you live as a follower of Jesus today.
  • Mission Autographs (download pdf)

Chapter 3: We Listen, Family Activities
In this chapter your child learned that the Bible is the written word of God. Choose one of the activities below to help your child come to know the Bible and reverence for God’s word.

  • Place a Bible on the dining room table. You might like to place it on a nice cloth or put a candle nearby. This week, begin your meals by reading someone’s favorite Bible story. If you have young children in your family, you might like to read from a children’s Bible.
  • Prepare for Mass as a family. On a weekday evening, read the gospel reading for the upcoming weekend. Then discuss the meaning of the story. Knowing the gospel story in advance will help your children understand and pay attention much better. Go to www.FaithFirst.com’s Sunday gospel reflection for Sunday.
  • Talk about how God’s word can help us to live as followers of Jesus.
  • Make a list of ways that you can help one another listen to God’s word.
  • Scripture Poll (download pdf)

Chapter 4: We Give Thanks, Family Activities
In this chapter your child learned that it is important for us to give thanks to God. Choose one of the activities below to do together as a family.

  • Look at the story of Jesus feeding the crowd in all four gospels. Compare the stories. Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:30-44; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-15.
  • Make and bake bread together.
  • Invite someone special to share a meal with your family.
  • This week, pray a prayer of thanksgiving together after meals. Click here for a special mealtime prayer on this web site.
  • We Give Thanks (download pdf)

Chapter 5: We Remember, Family Activities
In this chapter your child learned about the Last Supper and the Eucharistic Prayer. At Mass we remember and celebrate what Jesus did for us. Choose one of the activities below to do together as a family.

  • Eat a meal together and talk about all the good things that happened that day.
  • While eating a meal together, share stories about God’s goodness.
  • Listen carefully to the priest at Mass. What does the priest say and do that Jesus said and did at the Last Supper?
  • Pay close attention to the Eucharistic Prayer at Mass. Listen especially to the words that the people say and learn them.
  • Find out more about what takes place at a Passover meal.
  • We Remember (download pdf)

Chapter 6: We Celebrate, Family Activities
In this chapter your child learned about the Risen Jesus sharing a meal with the disciples. At the meal the disciples recognized Jesus when he broke the bread and shared it. Choose one of the activities below to do together as a family.

  • Reach out to someone in need. Donate a meal to your local food shelf.
  • Bake bread or cookies and share them with an elderly person who might enjoy your company.
  • Pray together the Mealtime Prayer that is on the web site.
  • We Celebrate (download pdf)

Chapter 7: We Live, Family Activities
In this chapter your child learned that the Eucharist strengthens us to live as followers of Christ. The Holy Spirit helps us to live as Jesus’ followers. Choose one of the activities to do together as a family.

  • Make Holy Spirit prayer cards to remind you that the Holy Spirit helps you live as a follower of Jesus.
  • Pray together the Prayer to the Holy Spirit: Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful/And kindle in them the fire of your love/Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created/And you will renew the face of the earth. Amen. 
  • Talk about how the Holy Spirit helps your family to live as followers of Jesus.
  • We Live (download pdf)