Tag Archives: First Holy Communion

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  The design has remained popular although it is outdated.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.



First Holy Communion Rosary

17 May

communion4A rosary is a traditional gift for a boy or girl on First Communion Day.

communion3 The center of the First Holy Communion Rosary has a chalice, the symbol of communion.

communion  A parish church often gives the communicant a certificate to mark the First Communion Day.  The certificate shown above was awarded in 1900.

communion2 This First Holy Communion Certificate was awarded in 1968.

First Holy Communion is a special day in the life of a Catholic.  Rosaries and certificates help all remember the occasion.

RosaryCollectorsGuide To learn more about rosaries, read The Rosary Collector’s Guide by Gloria Brady Hoffner and Helen Hoffner.  This 152 page hardcover book, published by Schiffer Publishing, has over 200 color photographs of rosaries, crucifixes, crosses, and center medals.  With rosaries owned by King Henry VIII of England to those honoring Pope Francis, The Rosary Collector’s Guide is the reference book that guides historians, antique dealers, and collectors of religious articles.

Hoffner Rosary Book Photo If you have questions about rosaries, contact the authors, Gloria Brady Hoffner and Helen Hoffner, at rosarycollector@aol.com




Pope Pius X and First Holy Communion

10 May

PiusXI  Catholics cherish religious articles that bear the image of popes.  The card above contains a relic of Pius X, who served as pope from  1903 to 1914.  Pope Pius X led many reforms.

Children today usually receive their first communion at age seven.  Prior to 1910, however, Catholics were not permitted to receive communion until the age of fourteen.  On August 15, 1910, Pope Pius X issued a document known as Quam Singulari, Decree of the Sacred Congregation of the Discipline of the Sacraments of First Communion.  This document reflected the belief that children reached the age of reason by seven and could receive communion.

PiusX2 The white communion dress and veil became popular after Pope Pius X lowered the age for the reception of First Holy Communion.  The picture above shows a seven year old girl wearing her communion dress and veil in 1936.  Notice that unlike today’s veils, this child’s veil is the same length as her dress.

PiusX3  The rosary box shown bears a picture of the pope.

PiusX5  The rosary box opens to show a picture of the Vatican.

PiusX6A miniature rosary fits inside the rosary box.


Religious articles bearing images of the popes remind us of the changes that have occurred in the Catholic Church.

RosaryCollectorsGuide To learn more about antique religious articles, read The Rosary Collector’s Guide by Gloria Brady Hoffner and Helen Hoffner.  This 152 page hardcover book contains over 200 color photographs of rosaries, crosses, crucifixes, and medals.  Published by Schiffer Publishing, The Rosary Collector’s Guide is available on Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com, the Catholic Faith Store Online, and other book stores, religious article stores, and online sellers.

PadrePio28 If you have questions about antique religious articles, write to Gloria Brady Hoffner and Helen Hoffner at rosarycollector@aol.com


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