We’re well and truly into First Holy Communion season, judging by my Facebook feed which is smattered with photos of people’s children in white dresses and veils or suits and angelic smiles.
Prompted by this, and a Catholic Weekly reader who wrote in asking for suggestions of catechetical resources as gifts for his grandson’s first sacraments, I did a little scout around for great gift ideas that are also teaching aids about the beauty of our sacramental faith.
My criteria: they needed to be catechetical or spiritual/prayer resources, either books or other media, and preferably recent releases.
Jesse Mansour, manager of the Mustard Seed Bookshop at Lidcombe, says the My First Communion Bible, which was published a handful of years back by St Benedict Press, remains a popular choice with parents and parishes, with some parishes even buying it in bulk to give as gifts to first communicants.
It comes with a foreword from Fr Benedict Groeschel CFR in which he recalls his own First Holy Communion and thoughts on meeting Jesus in the Sacrament.
Ignatius Press has recently released its My Catholic Bible, in hardcover with a gift box, which looks good also. It comes with an imprimatur, gilt-edged pages and satin bookmark.
For boys, mum of eight Susan has found success with graphic novels or comics such as The Action Bible, which is illustrated by a Marvel/DC Comics artist.
Jesse recommends The Bread of Life DVD, which is part of the My Brother Francis DVD series. “It’s a good catechetical resource for first communicants and you can buy an activity book to go with it,” he says.
St Paul’s Sunday Missal – gift edition with a white leatherette cover. Available online through the St Paul’s website or the Mustard Seed Bookshop in Lidcombe.
Ignatius Press also released A Missal for Children last month with explanations of the prayers on the pages facing the prayers of the liturgy, illustrations and a white leatherette cover.
The Weight of a Mass: A Tale of Faith by Josephine Nobisso comes recommended by Emily Shaw, author at the Young Catholic Mums website.
“It’s a fantastic fable about the importance of the Mass. My kids are seven and under and really enjoy it.”
Mother of three Marina recommended The Squire and the Scroll: A Tale of the Rewards of a Pure Heart by Jennie Bishop. This one looks as though it might appeal to young boys in particular.
She has also been recommended the whole My Brother Francis DVD series and was looking into buying it.
Books and DVDs on the Saints
“We have given our kids their own Bible at First Holy Communion and Reconciliation and then gifts related to their newly chosen Saint at Confirmation,” says Susan. She recommends illustrated collections of saints’ stories, or illustrated booklets about individual saints such as the ones written by Mary Fabyean Windeatt (published by Tan).
We have many children’s books on the saints at the Rodrigues home, too. The favourite of our eight-year-old son is Saint Paul: Friend of Jesus by Jack O’Neill and published by St Paul’s. He really loves this book and it lives by his bedside.
Other great sources of books and media include Portico Books, online at www.goodreadingguide.com
For city workers needing last-minute gifts it can be convenient to pop down to Pauline Books and Media on 50 Castlereagh St. Pauline Books also has an online store at paulinebooks.com.au.
Sydney Catholic Books and Resources on Level 6 of the Polding Centre at 133 Liverpool St has a small selection of books and media, plus photo frames, albums, First Holy Communion Bibles, children’s missals, and rosary beads and other sacramentals.
The bonus at the latter is being able to make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament in the chapel just across the hall on the same floor. Happy shopping!