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Baptism Gift Ideas

You received an invitation to a baptism and you are wondering what to give as a baptism gift. We have great baptism gift ideas here a the Catholic Faith Store, come on over and take a look!

Whether you are a practicing Catholic or simply a friend of the family that isn’t particularly religious, there is no need to stress when it comes to selecting an appropriate baptism gift.

A baptism is a wonderful celebration of faith and family!   When we celebrate a baptism event either by attending the church ceremony or simply attending the reception we should keep in mind the meaning of the sacrament.  We are welcoming the infant (person) into the Church and into Christ.  We are reminded of Christ’s own baptism in the river Jordan by John the Baptist.  It is with these thoughts and teachings in mind that we make our selection for a baptism gift.

Catholic Baptism Gift Ideas


Baby Jewelry –
Jewelry can be expensive baptism gift option, especially if it is made from 14 karat gold or sterling silver.  Often these gifts are kept and worn throughout the child’s life, on their First Communion day, on their wedding day and even handed down to their own children.  But not all jewelry needs to be expensive to be cherished.   Look through the baby jewelry choices and pick a style and price point that’s right for you.

  • Cross Pendant or Crucifix Pendant

An infant or baby sized cross pendant is a piece of jewelry that can be worn over and over again throughout the child’s life.  When we wear a cross or crucifix pendant we show the world that we believe in the Lord, the crucifixion and the resurrection!

  • Scalloped Shell Pendant

Gifting the baptized baby a shell pendant, or any item that has a scalloped shell motif, is very apropos for the special occasion.   During a Catholic baptism ceremony the priest will use a shell shaped form to pour water on the child’s forehead.  The shell symbolizes the Baptism of Christ by John the Baptist.  The three drops of water are a symbol of the Holy Trinity – The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit.

  • Baby Bracelet with the Miraculous, a Cross, or a Patron Saint Dangle Charm.

A bracelet for the baby is not as popular as a pendant, but is a great baptism gift option as it can be worn often and stored as a keepsake.   Our favorite baptism bracelets are made with pearls and sterling silver beads and dangle cross or Miraculous charms.  These baby bracelets are so very elegant.

  • Earrings – Cross, Shell, Dove Shaped

A baptism gift for a girl can be as simple as a pair of delicate earrings.  Keep the religious aspect of the gift in mind by having the earrings in the shape of a cross, a scalloped shell, a dove or even a cute set of praying hands.

 Baptism-Gift-Ideas
Baby-PinCross-Pendant-BabyBaby-Dove-Earrings
A Children’s Rosary – Although an infant will be far too young to use the rosary, it is kept as an important sacramental and keepsake.  A baby rosary can have very small beads made of glass with silver-tone centerpieces and crucifixes.  Or you can select a wooden children’s rosary with much larger beads.  When the child is old enough to learn about the rosary and begin the prayers of the Hail Mary and Our Father, they can use their own beads to pray with.    Please remember that a children’s rosary is not a toy and children should always be monitored when handling a rosary.  Baby-RosaryBaby-Girl-Rosary
A Children’s Bible – A children’s bible is typically a smaller version of the bible with small print and the New Testament only.  Some children’s bibles can be found in simple hardcover versions, others have lovely fabric and lace covers and some even still can be personalized.  Childrens-Bible
Picture Frames Specifically Designed For Baptism – There will be so many wonderful memories made on the baptism day and the child’s parents will want to remember them for a lifetime.  Giving a photo frame to display and keep special moments of the baptism is not only practical but a cherished keepsake.  Baptism-Photo-Frame
A Children’s Book of Saints – As the baptized child grows in age and in faith, a book of saints will be looked at and read many times.  Children will learn to appreciate the special nature of saints and their remarkable lives, seeking their intercession in times of need.  Childrens-Book-of-Saints
Inspirational Statues – A statue of a Guardian Angel, a statue of the Virgin Mother, a Jesus statue, or a Patron Saint statue can be placed in the child’s bedroom and once blessed by a priest becomes a life lasting sacramental providing a way to receive grace.  Mary-Statue
Children’s Wall Cross or Children’s Wall Crucifix – A children’s wall cross or crucifix is not only a lovely room décor accent; it is a constant reminder to our children of the importance of prayer and the Lord’s undying love for us.   Having the wall cross personalized with the child’s name and baptism date is also an option.  Baby-Wall-CrossPersonalized-Baptism-Wall-Cross
Prayer Plaque or Religious Wall Décor – There are so many adorable and inspirational wall décor ideas for a child’s room that are not only really sweet but incorporate the teachings of the Catholic Faith.  Look for popular prayers, such as a bedtime prayer with a guardian angel, an illustrated prayer of the Hail Mary or Our Father.  Footprints-Prayer-Plaque-ChildrenBaby-Room-Catholic-Blessing
Keepsake Box with Religious Symbolism – Where to keep special jewelry, rosaries and lifetime mementos?  In a keepsake box of course!  Choose a keepsake box that the child will be able to use for many years to come and has a religious meaning to it, such as a box top designed with a cross or the image of Mary or Jesus.  Personalized-Keepsake-BoxSalerni-Baby-Keepsake-Box
Monetary Gifts – Gifts of cash or savings bonds are considered by some to be a gift of last resort or downright bad etiquette, but that shouldn’t be the case.  Many parents are grateful for the monetary gifts as they are often set aside for the child’s future expenses such as a college education fund.  Always present your monetary gift in a pretty baptism card.

As a quick addition, not all baptism gifts are for infants or toddlers.  Adults get baptized too, often during an RCIA ceremony.  If you are looking for an RCIA or a more adult baptism gift, many of the ideas above will still apply although you will want to adult version.   An adult cross pendant of crucifix pendant, a wall cross or photo frame, or a rosary are all very suitable gifts for welcoming a person into the Church.

In lieu of browsing through a local Catholic gift shop, as they are unfortunately getting harder and harder to find, you can search the internet and find many wonderful baptism gifts.  If you really aren’t sure about your decision, don’t hesitate to call the online store and speak to a representative.  At the Catholic Faith Store we really enjoy helping people find a great baptism gift idea.  We can be reached online at http://www.CatholicFaithStore.com or call toll free in the USA at 1-800-625-461. For local and international customers please call +1-919-249-7120.  We are also available on our Online Chat Line or the Contact Us form.

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Mothers-DayThere is just something unique and mysterious about mothers. But I didn’t grow up thinking I was going to be unique and mysterious simply because I was a mom. In fact, it was just the opposite for me…

I was a Catholic Worker for several years as a young adult. While my college friends were getting pregnant, I was with a social justice movement marching for changes in society. As a group of young people, we fed and sheltered hundreds of homeless people. We performed the works of mercy on a daily basis, working from early in the morning until late at night.

So when I heard an elderly priest say, “The highest calling for a woman is to be a mother,” my ego stood up in protest. There I was, doing “big” things to make the world better.… “How dare he say, ‘the biggest thing is to be a mom,” I thought.

But that was before I became a mom. Now I know what that priest was trying to say. Motherhood is achingly hard and the only thing that lightens the load is a good husband and a regular prayer commitment.

To be a mom is so much more than going through nine months of uncomfortable pregnancy, and numerous hours of painful labor; being a mom is a “til death do us part” commitment. Moms watch over and protect. We guide and minister. We treat physical wounds and try to mend broken hearts. We attempt to answer the most bizarre questions. We pick up messes only to have them recreated again a few minutes later.

It’s the confusion that gets to me these days….I mean, moms are expected to know everything and sometimes…we just don’t. That’s hard. We want so much to help.

The truth is, when I helped the homeless I felt a deep sense of fullness. We were filled up by drinking from the chalice of “righteousness”; but moms are filled up by drinking from the chalice of “love.”

Our hope and strength as mothers comes from the Blessed Mother who understands our trials and tears.  Mary’s words to the servants at the wedding feast in Cana are especially helpful to me. She told Jesus the celebrants were out of wine, but Jesus had said, “What concern is that to me? It is not yet My time.” (When our kids become young adults we can’t just say, “I’m ordering you to do it.”)  But Mary trusts that the Good will be done, even though she can’t see into the future. She says to the servants five words that are filled with meaning: “Do whatever He tells you.”

Doubt, confusion, pain, fear, trust, confidence and wonderment—those are the ingredients in the Chalice of Love.  But we are to “do whatever the Lord (and His mother) tells us.” We seem to walk in darkness at times. But the light is always on up in Heaven.

Pray for me. I’ll pray for you. May the Blessed Mother shower us all with JOY this Mother’s Day! Hurrah for Moms everywhere!

—Judith Costello, OCDS,

Judith has written/compiled two books: “How to Pray Like the Saints” and “To Mary, Our Morning Star (10 Lessons in Mariology)”. They are available on Amazon or through CatechismClass.com.

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St.-GeorgeThe feast of St. George is April 23

About that Dragon…

There was a historical figure named George, who lived from approximately 280 to 303. We know that he traded a military career for the role of “knight for Christ, defender of the faith.” In many of our holy card images of St. George he is portrayed as slaying a dragon….Here’s the story:

According to the old legends about George, an entire pagan village lived in fear of a large and terrifying creature. (Was it a crocodile perhaps?) It had taken up residence in the community spring—their only source of water—and the people wanted to placate it. In order to fill their buckets, the people tempted the creepy creature to leave the water by offering it a sheep. When the villagers didn’t have enough sheep to give up, they began to surrender their daughters as an offering to the croc. The girls were picked by lottery.

One day a beautiful maiden was chosen as the sacrifice. As she was being bound, a young man on a strong horse appears on the horizon. He prays fervently and then goes into battles against the crocodile. When he defeats the creature, the people of the village convert to Christianity and St. George rides off with the beautiful maiden.

This allegorical narrative reminds us that the world—our village–tells us we should compromise with evil. “Don’t try to resist its mighty power.…placate the devil in order to keep the peace.” But, what the villagers never realize, is that the price of “giving in” increases over time until we are giving away all that is most precious. We end up giving away life itself.

St. George reminds us to take up the armor of truth. Put on the shield of faith. Confront the devil and defeat his power over our lives!

As far as we know, the historical person named George was a man who defended the faith and made converts as a result of his virtue and the strength of his convictions. Although he was murdered for his faith, his soul triumphed by rising to heaven.

St. George’s feast is celebrated during the Easter season to remind us to take on the “new life in Christ” and be strengthened for battle through the power of the Holy Spirit.

During this Easter season we celebrate the gift of truth and faith that tells us life continues after death. For those who have been cleansed from sin and are clothed in love for Jesus, we will rise with Him to eternal life!

So today is a day to take courage and prepare to slay those nasty dragons!

By Judith Costello

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Ready to Walk, Come Rain or Shine

Tomorrow is a big day. My children and I will be joining dozens of other Catholic families in walking approximately 14 miles while reflecting on the Via Dolorosa. Fourteen miles to remember the 14 Stations of the Passion of Jesus.

For the kids the question on Thursday is: What is the weather going to be like? Last weekend we had freezing weather here in New Mexico and 60 mile an hour winds! There was no escape from the piercing daggers of the wind. But we know that tomorrow, that’s what it’s about…to offer up the discomfort, whatever it is.

We walk, pray silently, recite the rosary together, sing and stop after each mile to say the Stations. At about the 8 mile mark I am usually completely exhausted. It can be a real effort to keep going. It’s a powerful reminder that Jesus chose to “keep going”—to endure further torture—in order to completely offer expiation for our sins.

The sense of accomplishment our group feels at the end of our walk—we have windblown hair and shoes with new holes; there is usually someone with a twisted ankle; and a woman walks only the last few feet held up by teenagers and supported on her walker—it all makes us remember that Jesus accomplished His task as well. He conquered death itself!

Rejoicing comes a short time after this period of sorrow and pain.

What are you doing to honor Jesus this Good Friday? We will all experience suffering at some point in our lives; we are all called to be obedient to the Church and the commandments even when it isn’t easy; we can all offer little sacrifices…if we place these things before the cross of Christ we make this Friday into something “good.”

My mom sent out this message which I thought I would share:

Dear friends,

We have an Irish tradition which asks us to say a special prayer 33 times between the hours of noon and three p.m. on Good Friday. My Mom and Dad used to say it and my Mother’s folks in Chicago did too, that was at the end of the nineteenth century! I don’t know how much further back it goes…but more I imagine. Grandma Ashley came from Ireland, so she brought it from the Old Country. Here’s the prayer:

“O, my Lord Jesus, I humbly beg of you
by the merits of Thy precious blood,
by Thy Divine Heart and the
the intercession of Thy cruel death,
to assist me in my pressing necessities.”

God bless you all. On Sunday we will rejoice again! 

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Prayer to Saint Joseph

Oh Saint Joseph whose protection is so
great so strong, so prompt before the
throne of God.  I place in you all my
interests and desires.  Oh Saint Joseph
do assist me by your powerful
intercession, and obtain for me from
your divine son all spiritual blessings
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

So that having engaged here below
your heavenly power I may offer my
thanksgiving and homage to the most
Loving of fathers.  Oh Saint Joseph I
never weary contemplating you and
Jesus asleep in your arms.  I dare not
approach while he reposes near your
heart press him in my name and kiss
His forehead for me and ask him to
return the kiss when I draw my dying
breath.  Saint Joseph Patron of
departing Souls Pray for me.
Amen.

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My mom is 87 years old and she’s a “leprechaun!”

The story starts many years ago…

When she had six little kids at home, Mary Costello pulled out a “Wearin’ Green” box every year during this week preceding St. Patrick’s Day. Whether we liked it or not, each of her children wore wide green belts, green hats, green buttons and green necklaces to school. And St. Patrick’s Day had a certain kind of “magic” to it!

After all her wee ones grew up and left home, Mary and a neighbor, who also had six kids, would visit and swap their green items.

Then Mrs. Ryan got sick. Mom bought a big “cat in the hat” hat, stripped knee-hi’s, floppy felt shoes, and shamrock pins. She brought these items to Mrs. Ryan to cheer her up. When Mrs. Ryan died, Mom boxed up those thing and her Paddy days seemed to have ended.

Then last year she brought them out again to show her Jazzercise teacher. (Yes, not only is she an 87 year old leprechaun but she jumps around on a regular basis!) Pictures were taken. The local priest discovered the secret identity of his parishioner. And presto—treasures have been discovered. The rainbow has an end!

Here’s the conversation between the priest and the leprechaun. It happened just this week:

“Praised be to God, this is a mite beautiful place!” the leprechaun said looking around the Church. She seems to know just where to go. Before the tabernacle the one in green bows low. “Heavenly Day! There it tis!”

“Oh,I hear someone coming. I’ll act casual.”

Father has come out of the door near the sanctuary only to discover a creature in a tall green hat who looks a lot like Mary Costelly. “Ah, so you’re the leprechaun of Cork Hill! What are you doing there? I understand that leprechauns know all about treasure. Is that true?”

“Ayah!  I don’t share my treasure information with everyone. But I know y’er a special one—the pastor of the Cork Hill Parish himself. I fear I cannot hide from you any longer.”

The leprechaun looks furtively toward the tabernacle and then says slowly, “Well, treasure is always adorned in gold. Here, in that box, hidden inside, is the greatest treasure of all the world. It’s a wee house it is, but inside is the King of kings. He’s right there! Isn’t it a wonder?”

“A wonder indeed! Thank you for sharing. It is sad to me that this seems to be a secret from so many. Do you know why they don’t recognize the real treasure when it is right in front of them?”

“Oh don’t be sad, good Father. We’ll spread the word together. I happen to know this treasure will last forever and ever, so I won’t keep it a secret anymore! Good day to you now Father. And may the luck of the Irish be with you!”

–By Judith Costello

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In my Sunday School class there’s a little girl who doesn’t say much…ever. When I ran into her at the grocery store after Ash Wednesday, I asked what she was giving up for Lent. She whispered, “All sweets and all desserts.” That’s a tough commitment in the modern world—and she’s only eight years old! Then in class this last Sunday, my daughter handed out freshly baked, homemade cookies to the students. This girl shook her head to refuse, but those around her insisted. “They’re so good!” She left that cookie sitting on the napkin, sending out a sweet aroma, causing some of those around her to beg for it. At the end of the class period she gave it to her mother with a smile. Now that’s inspiring!

Here’s the second half of our Thoughts for 40 Days:

21. Fasting during Lent is quite different from writing a New Year’s resolution. We have only 40 days to get it “right.” It seems like both a LONG time and a SHORT time to put on “the new man.”

22. Padre Pio had the stigmata on his hands. That must have been a trial. Everyone sees your hands. Everyone gawked at his. But trials and blessings are intimately connected.

23. Does it seem to you that everything that could go wrong, does go wrong during these 40 days? It’s like an intense year all crammed in to a short time period.

24. Why 40? It seems to be the number necessary for testing, learning and purification before big changes occur. The Israelites were in the desert for 40 years. Moses was on the mountain for forty days. It rained for forty days and night when Noah was in his boat. Elijah went without food for 40 days, and so did Jesus.  All of these were times of preparation and change. Are you ready for change?

25. We will have a new pope by Easter! We pray that the Holy Spirit is, at this very moment, descending on the Conclave and working through the cardinals.

26. We pray for a strengthening of families in this time when the nature of “family” is being pushed and pulled.   Lord, protect and guide our nation that it will defend and support our families.

27. These last few weeks are a time of “pilgrimage.” We are journeying toward our true Home.  It’s time to run the good race and put extra effort into this discipline.

28. Stations of the Cross are one of the most powerful devotions available to us. We need to get our young people to participate so that this memorial doesn’t disappear. Walking in the footsteps of Jesus, began in Jerusalem in 313 after Constantine assumed power. Before that, there had been 250 years in which Christians were actively persecuted.

29. Les Miserables is a good movie for the Lenten season. It is a story of misery and hope; sin and grace.

30. The rosary can be said as a “walking meditation.” Try it. It offers balm for both the body and the soul.

31. “Prayer knocks at the door, fasting obtains, mercy receives….So if you pray, fast; if you fast, show mercy.” Words of wisdom from St. Peter Chrysologus, a doctor of the Church who lived from 400-450.

32. Here’s another quote from this 5th Century saint about the Real Presence; “He is the bread sown in the Virgin, leavened in the Flesh, molded in His Passion, baked in the furnace of the sepulchre, placed in the churches, and set upon the altars, which daily supplies heavenly food to the faithful.”

33. Nowadays, love is defined by “how he/she makes me feel.” The goal of life is said to be “self-fulfillment.” But the truth is: we are filled up, only when we empty ourselves and give to the other without expecting anything in return. That’s one of those paradoxes we learn from Jesus.

34. St. Paul says we are to “boast in Christ.” God is the source of all goodness, all truth, all love, all success. It’s important to give the credit to Him.

35. There are great rewards that come to those who let go of worldly desires. It’s hard to see that truth when we are entrenched in the world. That is why Lent has so much to offer.

36. We peel back one attachment at a time. “I’m letting go of meat on Fridays. Now I’m letting go of eating between meals. Now I’m letting go of other attachments.” The peelings are gone. The essence is revealed: we belong to Christ.

37. “We are in a race and run to win,” says St. Paul. This competition is against the devil. Can we escape from his snares? Self-discipline is required, which all runners know is essential.

38. We hope and trust in our Lord. His generous mercy is boundless.

39. Jesus, my Lord and my God, have mercy on me a sinner.

40. By the paradox of surrender and death, Jesus conquered. We surrender to Him in order to receive new life. May this Easter be a special blessing!

By Judith Costello

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Part 1 of 2

My son will be confirmed in April. In writing a letter to the bishop to apply for this sacrament he wrote, “I’m proud to be Catholic because the Church speaks up for Truth. We Catholics know why we were made. God made us to know Him, love Him and serve Him. It’s reassuring to understand this.” What he wrote reminded me that Lent is the season to re-align ourselves with Truth…we were made for a purpose…to love in the way Jesus loved.

Here are forty thoughts for the forty days when we contemplate the meaning of love. (Twenty thoughts for February and 20 more to come in March.)

  1. On Ash Wednesday, we are “marked for Christ.” We belong to Him. This is a wake-up call.
  2. Most of the year, we go “one step forward and two steps backward” in our spiritual growth. It takes constant attention to continue forward. Now is the time.
  3. What about making a special place for prayer? This can be a visual reminder of what we need to be doing.
  4. Sometimes Lent seems gloomy. It comes at a time when winter is hanging on. The beauty of Lent is in the challenge to “walk with Christ.” Forty days for Him…that’s the least we can offer!
  5. We all love the discipline and routine of going to a gym, an aerobics class or a regular exercise routine. We know it makes us feel better. Lent is a discipline, routine and “feel better” system for the soul!
  6. Lent is a good time to take back control of the tongue! It’s easy to spout off or share stories about others. But it’s better to hold back, wait and consider the consequences of any speech.
  7. We are called to be saints. There are no excuses for not putting in the effort.
  8. When our teenagers whine about “what am I gonna do with my life?” it’s good to remind them… “God made you for a purpose….you are called to be a saint.”
  9. Light comes only after darkness. In the difficulties of this time in our lives, there is hope. There is light. It shines most brightly at Easter.
  10. When I was a kid, I spent every evening during Lent drawing religious pictures. It’s time to return to the wisdom of childhood.
  11. All of history is hinged on the few days of Christ’s passion and death. That’s the point of this forty days. We return our hearts to that pivotal event.
  12. After Jesus spent his preparation time of forty days in the desert, the devil’s first temptation was food. “Eat. Eat!”  It may be a struggle to control what we eat but therein lies the reason for it. We need to “just say no” to the devil’s many temptations.
  13. Candles are significant during Lent. A candle lights a small area. God gives us enough light for this moment. For the moments ahead we are to trust Him.
  14. Jesus chose to suffer and die out of love for you, love for me. “I scarce can take it in” are the words in the song “How Great Thou Art.”
  15. Post pictures of Jesus around the house. We remember how He loves us.
  16. Offer up anything that’s difficult. Imagine it is united with the sufferings of Jesus. Maybe out small sacrifices go across the centuries and make the pain He suffered just a little bit easier to bear.
  17. We are going to have a new Pope soon. Lent is a time to offer up special prayers for the cardinals who will make this momentous decision.
  18. In all our communities there are people who are suffering from loneliness, divorce, illness, hunger and homelessness. Feel for a moment what those things are like. Feel the hurt. Pray for all of those who are suffering.
  19. Read the story of a modern day hero. Fr. Maximilian Kolbe was captured by the Nazis for hiding Jews and speaking out against oppression. In Auschwitz, another man was scheduled to be killed. St. Maximilian said, “I’ll take his place.” He offered up his life for a stranger.
  20.  Every day is a new opportunity to offer up our lives in love for Jesus.

By Judith Costello, MA, OCDS

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Lent and FastingThe Power Season
Lent is the Power Season. It’s the time to rein in all those straying practices…the “pig out” tendency, the munchies tendency, the “grouchy ‘til 4 cups of coffee” tendency, the “I’ll pray later” tendency. It’s our time to feel the power of true Love.

When my daughter was learning to ride horses, the first lesson from her teacher was “How to Stop: Use your Reins.” When you’re a little girl on a big, powerful animal, you’d better know how to get it to stop, or you could be in big trouble! Similarly, the Church in her infinite wisdom, gives us a season to Stop. It is lesson #1, the first and the best way to grow in faith.

I use that word, STOP, as an acronym for: Stillness, Training, Orderliness, Perseverance.
Lent means seeking the stillness of the desert. We join Jesus on his 40 days of pilgrimage.
Lent means training the body through self discipline. “Why?” my Sunday School students asked. “Why can’t we eat meat on Friday? I hate fish.” We practice fasting and abstinence, as voluntary sacrifices. We join our small offerings of sacrifice with Jesus’ great offering of Himself. What is the giving up of meat or candies, or the between-meal munching in comparison to the love of Jesus, who surrendered His life on our behalf? Our forms of training in self discipline and sacrifice, prepares us for greater giving. Jesus gave up life itself, in order to show us the way to New Life. Only in training our minds, hearts and bodies can we fully understand this great gift.

Lent means creating order in the chaos of our lives. First, and most important in all the demands of our lives, is our relationship with God. Nothing is more important. Love flows when we are filled up by He Who Loves. We order our priorities. We order our time.
Lent means we must be persevering. It’s never easy. But the more we STOP, during Lent, the more we will grow in love for the King of kings!

Claim the power that can come when you STOP this Lent to “Look at Him!”

–Judith Costello, MA, OCDS

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Celebrating the sacrament of First Holy Communion is just that, a beautiful and memorable occasion highlighting the Holy Eucharist and becoming a full participant in the Church.  Along with the spiritual preparation come the other details of the day which include choosing a First Communion Dress and Accessories and coordinating the festivities after the church ceremony.

I remember my own First Communion with fondness.  At school we prepared for months with nearly our entire second grade school year devoted to preparing for the Sacrament of First Holy Communion.  At home there would be a big party with family and friends.  The only sticking point for me and my mom was that I was a slightly overweight child.  I loved to eat and my tummy showed it!  Finding a dress for a pudgy child thirty years ago was certainly a challenge.  When we finally found the one dress that fit, we purchased it and my mother watched my eating carefully so that I didn’t out grow it by the time of the May Communion date.

Thank goodness we have so many more choices today when it comes to shopping for a First Communion Dress.  Not only are there more dress styles, there are more sizes, and most importantly there are more ways to shop for them.  Can’t find a local retailer selling Communion Dresses? No problem, shop online!    At the Catholic Faith Store we carry a wide variety of First Communion Dresses to fit every style, size and budget.   www.CatholicFaithStore.com under First Communion Dresses.

We’ve had years of experience selling First Communion dresses at our office location as well as online and here are a few things we’d like you to consider when choosing your child’s First Communion Dress;

1.       Fit

Our single most important piece of advice for anyone shopping for a First Communion Dress is to take the child’s measurements.   With three simple measurements for Bust, Waist, and Length you’ll be able to select the correct size without worry.  Always compare the child’s measurements to the dress size chart as it is common for each dress to have unique measurements.   Please don’t assume that because your child wears a size 8 in clothing that she will automatically be a size 8 in her communion dress.   ALWAYS reference the size chart as some dresses run small and others are cut with generous proportions.   The size chart measurements provided are for the finished garment.  If the measurements are on the cusp of the size consider the next size up.  If you have any questions regarding sizing call the store, we are happy to help.   Toll Free phone number (800) 625-4610. Local / International customers phone +1 (919) 249-7120.

When measuring, please use a sewing or soft tape measure, not a metal retractable tape measure.


BUST

First Communion Dress Size Chart

How To Choose A First Communion Dress

To measure the BUST take a tape measure and wrap it around the entire body where the child’s chest is, just under the armpits at the widest section of the chest.  Hold the tape measure loosely and write down the measurement.

WAIST

To measure the WAIST take the tape measure and wrap it around the entire body where the child’s mid-section is, just above the belly button.  Hold the tape measure loosely and write down the measurement.

LENGTH

The length of a dress is measured from the shoulder to the end of the hemline.  To measure where the hemline will fall on your child take the tape measure and start at the top of the shoulder.  Run the tape measure down to end of the given size chart measurement.  This will provide you with a guide for where the hem of the dress will fall on your child.

First Communion Dresses come in a variety of lengths including knee length, tea length (between the knee and ankle) and floor length.  Your child’s height will determine where the hemline actually falls so knowing the length of the dress is important.

Keep in mind that it may be necessary to hem the Communion Dress if you think it is too long.  NOTE: if the hem of the dress has beading or embroidery, shortening the dress may not be possible. 

2.       Timing

The First Communion shopping season starts in January and peaks at the end of April.  In order to be guaranteed the dress you want we suggest you start shopping in February.  This will allow you plenty of time to find the right dress, make alterations and allow for a dress to be made to order.  Although you will always find a dress closer to the First Communion date keep in mind that some dresses are made to order.  If you are ordering your dress online call the store and ask about availability.

3.       Style

Every Communion season we see a new line of Communion Dresses by our manufacturers and distributors.  Just when we think the dresses cannot get lovelier, they do!  This is because like all apparel, First Communion Dresses will change with the fashion of the day.  There will always be classic and traditional First Communion Dresses as well as more contemporary styles to choose from and each season we ooh and aah at the latest creations.

What style is chosen will depend on your person taste and what you consider a beautiful dress.  Some will prefer a traditional and simply designed dress, others will choose a more elaborate dress based on their family customs and ethnicity, and some will want a something very contemporary.  But with so many choices where to start?

Color:  Although this may seem obvious, First Communion Dresses should be all white.  If you are considering anything but a white dress, we strongly suggest you contact your parish for what may or may not be appropriate.

A Communion Dress with Sleeves or Sleeveless?  The answer is, it depends.  From a shopping perspective there are more sleeveless First Communion dress options to choose from than there are dresses with sleeves.  Yet some churches will insist that shoulders are covered during the First Communion ceremony.  If the dress you’ve chosen has spaghetti straps or is sleeveless you can simply purchase a shawl, jacket or cape to be worn during the ceremony.  Short sleeve and long sleeve dresses are traditional styles and do not require a cover up.  If in doubt, contact your local parish or First Communion Director.

Length: A First Communion Dress should always fall below the knee.  This means that some flower girl dresses, as pretty as they are will not be appropriate for use as a First Communion Dress.  The length of First Communion Dresses will vary from just below the knee, to tea length (mid-calf), to floor length (touching the ankle).  Remember to look at the dress size chart for the dress length to determine where the hem will fall.  The model wearing the communion dress may be very tall or very petite and may not accurately display where the dress will fall on your child.

Plus-Size Communion Dresses:  If your child is a little or maybe very overweight finding a dress might be difficult in a local retail dress shop.  But the Internet has made shopping for a plus-size communion dress very easy (as long as you take measurements and follow the size charts).

Many First Communion Dresses come in what the industry calls half-sizes.  These are plus size communion dresses that are exactly the same as their regular sized counterparts, but have been specifically sized to offer more space in the waist area where it is needed the most.  If your child has an apple or pear shape, a plus-size dress will be ideal for sizing.

In our opinion the most flattering First Communion Dress style for a plus-size girl is an A-line dress.  That is because an A-Line dress is fitted at shoulders and chest and at the waist gradually gets looser.

4.       Climate

Climate will often determine what First Communion Dress is selected.  In warmer climates you’ll want a lighter weight airy fabric such as cotton or linen or a light silk or satin with not too many layers.  Short sleeve or sleeveless dresses will also work in warmer climates.

If you live in cooler climates wearing satin, silk or taffeta dresses will make for a warmer dress.  Many of today’s communion dresses are strapless or sleeveless so keep in mind that you may need to purchase a white sweater, wrap or cape to cover the shoulders and keep the child comfortable.

5.       Budget

A First Communion Dress can vary in cost from under $100.00 to over $500.00, so knowing your budget is important.  An expensive dress will not always guarantee the best dress for your child as style and fit are the keys to a great dress.  Buying a more expensive dress will typically mean two things.  First, the quality of the material used is more expensive to source and will use finer materials such as silk.  Second, the craftsmanship will be greater.  More expensive dresses are a combination of machine and handmade and will offer a greater degree of workmanship both in the sewing and application of embellishments.

We hope you’ve found this advice useful and that you have a blessed and stress-free First Communion celebration!

By Roseann Lowe
Catholic Faith Store