Belfast Telegraph

Parents shell out £900 for First Communion

By Ed Carty

Parents of youngsters celebrating their First Holy Communion spend almost £900 on the day, making the religious industry worth £50m, according to a survey.

But nine and 10-year-olds who received the sacrament in Ulster earned the least in cash gifts — £324 — well below the Irish average of £411.

John Monaghan, national vice-president of the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SvP), said parents will spend because they do not want their child to stand out from others.

“Our recommendation is to put a little sanity back into it, we need some sense,” he said.

“It is taking away from the sacrament and focusing on the showbusiness. There are a lot of families who cannot afford to do this.”

A survey of First Communion habits found spending on the day down 17%, from £1,025 to £850, over the past two years, while the amount of cash youngsters collected was down 18% over the same period.

Before the recession it was not unusual for parents to hire limousines and bouncy castles, and splash out on expensive dresses and suits.

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