Martin criticises communion spending

Mon, Oct 1, 2012, 01:00

The extravagance surrounding a child’s First Communion is wrong, the Archbishop of Dublin has said.

Unveiling proposals to make parents more involved with the sacrament, Diarmuid Martin said families should not get into debt for what should be a simple day.

Struggling parents are forking out an estimated €550 euro on communion clothes, parties and presents, a survey recently found.

Archbishop Martin said: “I believe that there’s something wrong with extravagance.

“First communion has to be something simple and I think we have to try and keep to that. It’s up to every parish then to decide what way they go about that so there isn’t that sort of expense.

“One should be very clearly looking at the amount of money spent on outfits and sometimes transport and partying as well.

“Parishes should encourage people to celebrate the sacrament with the simplicity and authenticity which will help the child to fully understand the mystery of the Eucharist,” he added.

The Archdiocese of Dublin policy document proposes changes in the way children prepare for the sacraments of First Communion and Reconciliation (confession).

Under the plan, parents across the capital will have a greater role in their child’s communion, taking part in the preparations instead of just signing a consent form and leaving teachings to the classroom.

It is hoped smaller groups of children will eventually receive the sacrament during Sunday Mass with their local parish community and not in private celebrations.

Archbishop Martin said the proposals will be controversial and take time to implement, but will give much greater involvement to parents, parish and school.

Plans can be made for children whose parents decide against them making their communion, he added.

“I think it’s moving away from the enrolment policy, which was in the past, to a commitment policy,” the Archbishop said surrounded by young pupils at St Columba’s national school in Glasnevin.

“Instead of just signing up that my child can go and make First Communion because they are in this class, the parents give a commitment  -‘I wish my child to share the faith that I have inherited, I’m prepared to accompany them in
that’ - and that this isn’t an automatic process, it’s something we all have to work together on.”

PA