Now we delve into the main part of the DMC. Its first chapter discusses “The Introduction of Children to the Eucharistic Celebration.”
8. A fully Christian life is inconceivable without participation in the liturgical services in which the faithful, gathered into a single assembly, celebrate the paschal mystery.
Note that a Christian life without liturgy is theoretically possible, but it would not be a full one. Note also that the line is not drawn with active reception of the sacraments. DMC doesn’t say “receiving Communion.”
Therefore, the religious initiation of children must be in harmony with this purpose. [See Sacrosanctum Concilium 14, 19.] The Church baptizes children and therefore, relying on the gifts conferred by this sacrament, it must be concerned that once baptized they grow in communion with Christ and each other.
Receiving Communion is defined as both “sign” and “pledge,” which I would interpret here as a signification of a deeper spiritual Communion in the former situation, and a promise of the necessary grace in the latter.
The sign and pledge of that communion is participation in the eucharistic table, for which children are being prepared or led to a deeper realization of its meaning. This liturgical and eucharistic formation may not be separated from their general education, both human and Christian; indeed it would be harmful if their liturgical formation lacked such a basis.
Formation in the liturgy and sacraments is intertwined with all aspects of the education of the child.
It would be interesting to hear from readers how they see this intermixture in general education, and what they’ve seen in terms of Catholic schools providing it.