Eight children receive first communion in war-torn Gaza

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By Mark Ellis —

Holy Family Church in Gaza (photo: Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem/Facebook)

A group of eight children at Holy Family Church, the only Catholic church in Gaza, recently observed their first communion, according to a report by Aleteia.

The church has remained open since the war began October 7, 2023, and continues to provide shelter for residents of Gaza caught in the conflict. Aside from the communion ceremony, the church has held baptisms and their regular services for the last three months.

When the church could no longer obtain Communion hosts, parishioners set up a production room where they could bake the bread themselves.

Children prepare for first communion (photo: Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem/Facebook)

In the Catholic Church, a communion host refers to the small, unleavened bread used during the Lord’s Supper. It is typically round and flat, resembling a wafer, made from wheat flour and water, without any leavening agents.

The absence of leaven represents the sinless nature of Jesus Christ.

During the celebration of the mass, the priest consecrates the bread and wine, following the words and actions of Jesus at the Last Supper. Catholics believe in the doctrine of transubstantiation, which teaches that, through the consecration, the substance of the bread and wine is changed into the actual body and blood of Christ, while retaining the appearances of bread and wine.

Cardinal Pizzaballa praised the “strength and steadfast faith demonstrated by the parishioners of Gaza.”

“We continue to pray for our people in Gaza so that God would give them strength and patience during these tough times. And we continue to plead for a cease-fire and hope for a comprehensive plan of peace and justice to take place,” he told Aleteia.