Why do parish First Communion Masses so often neglect good liturgical principles? Should these celebrations resemble something analogous to a recital? Or, should they be celebrations worthy of the praise and glory of God?
First Communion Liturgies explores the purpose and practice of First Communion in our time, uncovers the pitfalls associated with it, and offers a guide for preparing celebrations that will enrich the lives of children and families, bringing them into a deeper relationship with God and the church.
Donna Eschenauer is the associate academic dean at St. Joseph's Seminary and College in Yonkers, New York. She also serves as a full-time faculty member teaching courses in pastoral theology and religious education. For over twenty years she was a religious educator. She is the author of numerous titles including Reflections on Renewal: Lay Ecclesial Ministry and the Church, co-edited with Harold D. Horrell (Liturgical Press, 2011).
What a relief from the entertainment, sentimentality and photo-shots of First Communions hoisted upon us each spring. Eschenauer offers a creative alternative, namely, Eucharistic enchantment. Her book is full of wise guides and illuminating examples. Every parish ought to stock a bookshelf full of this gem of a book. Only a seasoned pastoral minister with a deeply grounded liturgical and educational background could write this very practical, yet profound, book.
Dr. Kieran Scott, Fordham University
Born out of more than twenty years of exceptional pastoral ministry, Donna Eschenauer's First Communion Liturgies is a compendium of wise pastoral suggestions rooted in real-life experiences. Collaborative to the core, in an era when individualism too often triumphs, Eschenauer envisions celebrations that are integral to parish life, celebrated in the midst of the gathered assembly and formative for child, family and parish. Assuming the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults and the Third Edition of the Roman Missal as foundational, Eschenauer handles thorny questions with wisdom and grace, incorporating stories drawn from her rich experience of pastoral ministry. First Communion Liturgies is loaded with fine pastoral suggestions that proved successful, and enhanced by references and recommendations to other resources.
Dr. Julia Upton, RSM, Distinguished Professor of Theology, St. John's University, NY
This is a very positive and promising work-the enthusiasm of the author for the subject is contagious! The many practical suggestions-along with the clear grasp of the background material, and a pleasant writing style, have all contributed to make this a very encouraging and inspiring 'read' for me.
Rev. Joseph C. Henchey, CSS, Professor of Dogmatic Theology, St. Joseph's Seminary, New York