First Holy Communion Rosaries, Prayer Books, and Cake Toppers

30 Apr


Do you remember the day you received your First Holy Communion?  Today most Catholics  receive their First Holy Communion as children, usually at age 7 or 8.  Before 1910, however, Catholics were not permitted to receive Holy Communion until they had reached age 14.    On August 15, 1910, Pope Pius X issued a decree re-establishing Quam Singulari, an ancient church law on first communion. This decree lowered the reception of communion from age fourteen to age seven, an age at which the church felt children understood right from wrong.


Families often celebrate a child’s First Communion Day with a party and a special cake.  The classic cake topper shown above was first made in 1959 by Hartland Plastics. It was six inches tall and was available in retail stores as well as catalogs including Sears & Roebuck, Montgomery Ward, and J.C. Penney.  Customers could purchase a cake topper with a girl or a boy.  The design has remained popular although it is outdated.    When it was created in 1959, most Catholics received communion by kneeling at an altar rail like the little girl shown.  After the 1960s reforms of Vatican II, however, it has become more common for Catholics to stand when receiving communion.  The cake topper had a certificate on the bottom so that the family could record the child’s name as well as the date and the church in which First Holy Communion was received.


  Many churches award certificates to each child who makes First Holy Communion.

  A rosary and prayer book is the traditional gift at First Communion.  Many of the early prayer books contained a pocket to hold the rosary.  Traditionally, girls receive a white or pink rosary and boys receive a black or blue rosary.

Gloria Brady made her First Holy Communion in St. Barnabas Church in Philadelphia in 1934.   She received a rosary that day and became so fascinated with it that she began to collect rosaries.    In 2014, she collaborated with her daughter, Helen Hoffner, to write The Rosary Collector’s Guide, a 152 page hardcover book that explains the many variations of the rosary approved by the Catholic Church.



Now Gloria Brady Hoffner exhibits her collection and discusses her research with those who share her interest in the rosary.


   The Rosary Collector’s Guide, published by Schiffer Publishing, is available in Barnes and Noble, Amazon, the Catholic Faith Store, and other book stores, religious article stores, and online sellers.  The book has over 200 color photographs of rosaries, crosses, crucifixes, and center medals ranging from the Boxwood Rosary owned by England’s King Henry VIII to rosaries honoring Pope Francis.



One Response to “First Holy Communion Rosaries, Prayer Books, and Cake Toppers”

  1. Giovanna Lottes April 30, 2017 at 2:02 PM #

    blockquote, div.yahoo_quoted { margin-left: 0 !important; border-left:1px #715FFA solid !important; padding-left:1ex !important; background-color:white !important; } How adorable!I think she looks the same today 

    Sent from Yahoo Mail for iPhone


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