First Penance and First Holy Communion


Updated: May 30, 2019

Sacrament Preparation

Sacrament preparation is a two-year process.  Preparation for the Sacraments of First Penance and First Holy Communion occurs during the first and second grades. As a rule, First Communion takes place after the age of 7, the customary “age of reason”. Hence, children to receive First Holy Communion must be 7 years of age by the end of the final month of the school year (June).

If your child has missed a sacrament, please contact us. We are happy to accommodate him or her, according to individual needs.  If one or both parents have not received a sacrament, or would like to learn more about the Catholic Faith, we are happy to help, also.

First Penance and First Holy Communion

Students who have completed formal catechesis in the 1st and 2nd grade years will receive First Penance and First Holy Communion in the spring of 2020. The tentative date for First Holy Communion in 2020 is Sunday, May 17 at the noon Mass.

Details and other important information will be discussed at parent meetings (dates to be determined). Please check the weekly bulletins for details.

A First Holy Communion Data Form and recently issued Baptismal certificate is due for each child who will receive the Sacraments of First Penance and First Holy Communion in the spring of 2020.  Forms are available under the "Important Forms" tab of this website, or outside the Office of Religious Education.

Important Dates and Times

Sunday, June 23, 2019: Feast of Corpus Christi Procession, after noon Mass

All 2019 First Holy Communicants are asked to participate immediately following the noon Mass. Details have been discussed at the parent meeting.

First Penance Details:

  • First Penance for all children in the CCD program will be held this year on Saturday, (date to be determined) beginning with the 8:30 am Mass.
  • Children should wear “Sunday attire” for this special occasion, to show respect for the great value of the Sacrament. No athletic attire, please.
  • Please arrive early and sit with your children in the designated pews in the front of the church. Father will speak with the children during his homily.
  • After Mass, children proceed with the catechists to the back of the church and sit near the confessionals for First Penance.
  • Parents are welcome to receive the Sacrament, also.
  • A light breakfast reception will be held in Bishop Justs Hall afterwards.

No photography of any kind is permitted in the church during Mass or afterwards while the children are making their First Penance. You are welcome to take photos of your children at the reception afterwards. 

Rehearsal for First Holy Communion

Date to be determined: usually the Thursday prior to First Communion, 6:00 – 7:00 pm

  • Children should go directly to their catechist in Bishop Justs Hall.
  • Parents are welcome to sit in the back of the church during the rehearsal.
  • Children do not need to dress up for this event.
  • Children will be lined up in order of height.
  • If they will wear shoes with heels for First Holy Communion, please have them wear these shoes to the rehearsal.
  • We will practice their procession into the church, their seating, their walking up for Communion, and their exit from the church.
  • The girls will sit together on the left side of the church facing the altar (Blessed Mother side) and the boys will sit on the right (Saint Joseph side).

We will most likely practice twice in order for children to feel comfortable. It is most important that they feel calm on the day of their First Holy Communion at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and be able to focus that day on their first reception of Our Lord.

First Holy Communion

Tentative date for 2020: May 17 at the noon Mass

Children arrive between 10 and 11:00 for Noon Mass

  • Check-in begins at 10:00 am (Siena Academy) and 10:30 am (Religious Education students) on Sunday, May 17. This avoids conflicts with those attending the 10:00 am Mass and allows sufficient time for the photographer to take pictures.
  • Please be punctual so that we have time for group and individual photos with the professional photographer and lining up of children for their procession into the church.
  • Please use the rear entrance to the school at the fence gate. You will be given portrait details at this time, depending on the weather.
  • All pre-Sacrament photography must end by 11:30 am so that children will feel calm and ready to focus at Mass.
  • Parents are encouraged to find their seats in the church at this time, after the 10:00 am Mass has ended.
  • During the First Holy Communion Mass, no photography is permitted in the sanctuary. Of course, there will be ample opportunities to take pictures after Mass at the reception. Please make sure that all guests and extended family understand this policy. An announcement will also be made prior to Mass.
  • At the end of Mass, children will process out of the church and will go to Bishop Justs Hall where they will meet you.

A reception will be held after the First Holy Communion Mass. Parents from the first- and third-grade classes will help host this event. In year’s past, families have found this reception to be a nice bridge to celebrations later in the day.


Sacramental Schedule

Mass Schedule:

8 am 10 am 12 Noon*
*Novus Ordo Latin Mass

Saturday: 8:30 am & 5:30 pm Vigil Mass

Weekdays: 8:30 am, (Wednesdays: 12:15 pm)

Holydays (except Christmas):
8:30 am & 7 pm

Sacrament of Penance:

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday: 7:45 am – 8:15 am
Saturday afternoon: 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm
Expanded schedule for Advent and Lent
All Day Eucharistic Adoration
Every Wednesday: 1 pm through Thursday morning, 8:30 am
Every First Friday: 9 am through Saturday morning, 8:30 am

Contact Us

Rev. Jerry J. Pokorsky
Direct Line to Pastor 703.759.3520
No text messages please; contact the office for administrative questions.

Office Hours
Monday - Friday: 9:30 am to 1:30 pm 
Closed on Federal Holidays

Saint Catherine of Siena Church
1020 Springvale Road
Great Falls, VA 22066
Have a question? Have a comment? Please contact us!
Phone: 703.759.4350
Fax: 703.759.3753



St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church

1020 Springvale Rd., Great Falls, VA 22066

Parish Office: 703.759.4350
Fax: 703.759.3753
Religious Education: 703.759.3530
Siena Academy: 703.759.4129