The recent move by the Church in Wales to welcome anyone who has been baptised to receive Holy Communion in church, regardless of whether they have also been confirmed, was celebrated at St Augustine’s Church in Rumney when 17 members of the congregation made their first Communion.
The new guidance to re-adopt this practice of the early church on admission to Communion was ‘rolled-out’ on the First Sunday in Advent (27 November) and St Augustine’s was keen to lead the way.
Fr John Connell, Parish Priest of Rumney, said: “It was a tremendous joy and privilege for me, as a Parish Priest, to place the host into tiny hands and witness the careful, quiet devotion of the children as they made their First Communion.
“It was incredibly moving, not just for me, but for the parents and grandparents who were there too. Several adults, who have been baptised but not yet confirmed also took this important first step.”
In recent times, admission to Communion – the sharing of bread and wine – was restricted to those who had been confirmed, resulting in many members of the congregation missing out.
Fr John, says: “It always saddened me that the very expression of Christian community and fellowship celebrated in the Eucharist, when the Christian family gathers around the Lord’s table, on the Lord’s Day, to obey the Lord’s command, was a point at which children in particular were not able to fully participate. To see children coming to the altar rail with their family, watching the adults being fed and nourished by the Sacrament of Christ’s Body and Blood, and then seeing the children going away unfed from this meal has always struck me as nonsensical, especially as a child’s baptism marked their full membership of the Body of Christ.”
Young children will only be offered the bread, and parental permission is required for older children to share the wine.
It is hoped the change will strengthen ministry to children and young people and strengthen understanding of the rite of Confirmation.
Fr John, says: “It is a joy for us at St Augustine’s to join with angels, adults and children around the altar of the Lord celebrating this great sacrament at the heart of our Christian faith and life.”