Holy Communion is one of the seven sacraments in the Roman Catholic faith. Catholic children make their First Holy Communion, or celebration of the first time they receive the Eucharist, around the age of seven or eight, known in the church as the age of reason. Just prior to the Eucharistic part of the Mass, the General Intercessions or Prayers of the Faithful are recited.
What Are Prayers of the Faithful?
According to mycatholictradition.com, Catholics recite prayers of intercession to ask God for the needs of the church. They also pray for those in public office, their needs and the needs of others and for the salvation of the world. Prayers of the Faithful also remember those who have died. Typically, Holy Communion is the portion of the Mass in which only baptized Catholics in good standing can participate.
Who Recites the Prayers of the Faithful?
Typically, the Prayers of the Faithful are recited at the lectern. The priest introduces the prayers and the lector recites them with the congregation calling on the Lord to hear their intentions. At some churches, those who are receiving First Holy Communion take turns reading the petitions.
Examples of Prayers of the Faithful
At some churches, especially during a First Holy Communion, the Prayers of the Faithful are kept simple and to the point so the children can easily understand for whom and for what they are praying. For example, they might pray for their pastor, their families, their teachers and those who are in need. They also pray for peace, liberty and justice for all, and for those who are sick or dying. Finally, the children pray for everyone in the parish community.
Special Addition for the First Holy Communion Mass
Because the Mass celebrating First Holy Communion is so significant, churches often add extra special touches to add importance to the day. At Saint John and Saint Mary Church in Chappequa, N.Y., for example, Deacon Charlie Devlin had the children each place a rose on the altar as each prayer was recited.