Children are normally prepared for the Sacraments of PENANCE and EUCHARIST in the 2nd grade. The diocese of Arlington requires children to be enrolled in an RE program or a Catholic school for two years prior to receiving the sacraments with their peers (i.e., 1st and 2nd grade for FIRST PENANCE and FIRST EUCHARIST).

Weekly participation in the Sunday liturgy, modeling the faith in your home, expressing a willingness to continue to grow in your own faith, children’s attendance at faith formation sessions, engaging in parent/child workshops, and attentiveness at parental sessions all assist in preparing your child to receive the sacraments. More information regarding the dates and times of the workshops and parental sessions will be provided as the year progresses.

It is especially important if you are seeking the sacrament of the EUCHARIST for your child that your family participate weekly in the Sunday liturgy. Instilling in your child the importance of regular Mass attendance and witnessing your faith in action will reinforce their desire to receive communion.

Parents of children in the 3rd grade and above are asked to contact the Director of Religious Education, Joe Flaherty, at 703-938-1948 x1 in the Religious Education Office for more information on how to prepare their children to receive FIRST PENANCE and FIRST EUCHARIST.

Click here for important meeting dates for FIRST PENANCE and FIRST EUCHARIST      

First PENANCE normally occurs in December during a communal celebration of the sacrament with individual confessions.

Celebrating the sacrament of PENANCE frequently will encourage your child to want to participate. Don’t quite remember how to celebrate the Sacrament?  Here’s a short “how to” to guide you through the Sacrament of PENANCE.

Examination of Conscience for Children

A good way to help your child prepare for the Sacrament of PENANCE is to pray through what’s called an examination of conscience.  Here’s a good examination of conscience for your children.


First EUCHARIST normally occurs in the first two weekends of May in the context of the weekend masses.

For information on how to properly receive communion reference the information below.


Use this guide to help you teach your children how to receive Communion.


Watch this video to review the dos and don’ts of receiving the Eucharist and review the basics of what Catholics believe about the Eucharist.




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