Expensive First Communion dresses and lavish parties may be consigned to the past as Dublin parishes implement new guidelines for the ceremony unveiled by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin on Monday.
The archbishop expressed concern about "exaggerated spending on clothes and externals" and the fact that some families got into debt to fund their children's First Communions. In Ireland's boom years, elaborate dresses, limousines and helicopter rides were among the trappings of First Communion ceremonies, often followed by expensive family parties.
"First Communion has to be something simple. It is up to every parish to decide how to ensure that there isn't that extraordinary expense," said Archbishop Martin. He introduced a diocesan policy document, First Communion and First Reconciliation, giving parents and parishes a greater role in the preparation of communicants.