Sacrament Preparation Program

 

The purpose of the sacraments is to make people holy, to build up the body of Christ, and to give worship to God. The sacraments nourish, strengthen and express our faith.The very act of celebrating the sacraments effectively assists us to receive Godís grace.In our preparation for and celebration of the sacraments we are involved in the deep mysteries of our Catholic faith and tradition.The celebration of the sacraments flows from, is built on, and enriches the faith of the whole Christian community. (from the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, #59).

 

 

Preparation for First Holy Eucharist & First Reconciliation

 

Sacramental Preparation is an additional program that supplements the weekly Religious Education Class Night/Together in Faith whole-church formation program.

 

Eligibility

Sacramental Prep is normally offered for second graders (and older students who have not yet received the sacraments of First Communion and First Reconciliation) who have participated in at least 1 year of prior religious education classes.

 

Requirements

         In order to receive First Holy Communion and First Reconciliation, a child is required to have had one full year of faithful attendance in religious education class nights and monthly Together in Faith whole-church sessions prior to enrolling in the fall of the school year he/she intends to receive preparation for the reception of the sacraments.It is essential that children have good Class Night/Together in Faith attendance in order to be a part of the sacramental preparation program.The lack of adherence to this requirement may postpone a childís eligibility to prepare for and receive the sacraments.

         Since parents are the first and most important and influential teachers in a childís life, parents are required to attend the additional sacramental preparation sessions with their children.This will enable parents to become more active participants in the childís preparation of the sacraments and will help parents to continue to grow in their own understanding of and appreciation for the sacraments.

         In addition to the catechetical instruction children will receive in the class night and sacramental prep sessions and the appreciation for the faith community they will gain through participation in Together in Faith Sessions, participation in the "Living Way of the Cross" activity is also required for those seeking the sacraments.†The Living Way of the Cross activity takes place on the evening of Palm Sunday and is an opportunity for the children to experience communal prayer through this traditional Catholic devotion.

 

Expectations

By establishing these requirements and presenting a supplementary program that combines catechesis, hands-on learning/games and living activities for children in preparation for receiving the sacraments, it is our intention that parents and their child will come away from this preparation year more knowledgeable and with a deeper appreciation for the fruits and graces offered through the sacraments.The time commitment to fulfill these obligations is heavy no doubt.But when we realize the tremendous gift that the sacraments are in our lives as Catholics, we appreciate this time of preparation and see that together with our children, we are building on our relationship with Christ and as members of our faith community.Preparation sessions are separate from regular religious education class nights to clearly illustrate that receiving the sacraments is an extraordinary experience, one that takes extra commitment to prepare for.So congratulations for making the commitment on your childís behalf and for making his/her initiation into the church a top priority this year.

 

Calendar

See the attached calendar for the dates/times and locations of all of the above mentioned required events.

 

 

 2015-2016 Sacramental Prep Calendar

 

 

 

 

In addition to attending all Monday night classes and Together in Faith sessions, the following activities and retreats are also required for the reception of First Communion and First Reconciliation:

 

Reconciliation Retreat for students and parents is from 9 a.m. 1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 27 at St. John the Evangelist Church
Celebration of Reconciliation is at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 1 at St. Joseph Church

Living Way of the Cross practice is from 11 to 1 p.m. Sunday, March 13 at St. Joseph Church
Second practice is 11 to 1 p.m. Sunday, March 20 at St. Joseph Church
Performance is that same night, kids need to be there at 5:45 -- St. Joseph Church

First Communion Retreat is from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday April 23 at St. John the Evangelist Church
Introduction of the candidates to their parish takes place during the Mass on Sunday, May 1 at both churches

Practice for first communion is at 6:30 on Tuesday, May 10 at St. John the Evangelist Church.
First communion takes place on Sunday, May 15 at 1 p.m. at St John the Evagelist Church

 

 

 

 

 

All absences require notification to the Faith Formation Office.Only absences for illness

and family emergencies will be considered excused.If a sacramental prep session is being cancelled due to inclement weather, you will be notified by telephone.

 

 

 

There is an additional fee for each child participating in the Sacramental Prep program, which will be collected at the first session. This charge covers the cost of parent/child workbooks, a keepsake plate and other materials, as well as meals and snacks at retreats.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Preparing for First Communion

 

Children require adequate spiritual and catechetical formation in their preparation for the reception of First Communion.However, the approach is not limited to teaching things about the sacrament, but also includes initiating children into a Christian way of living and worshiping in a community.Catechesis leads children to discover the joy of living in communion with God and with others.A childís family and the Christian communityís day-by-day living of the Christian life becomes the first step in a childís preparation to receive this sacrament. Finally children are to be helped to participate more meaningfully in the celebration of the Eucharistic liturgy. This includes instruction about the meaning of the ritual, symbols and parts of the Mass.

Parents have a right and a responsibility to be intimately involved in preparing their children for First Communion.In order to carry out this right and responsibility, parents are required to attend the sacramental prep classes with their children.Parentsí regular participation at Sunday Eucharist is also an important aspect of the process for preparing their children for the sacrament.

 

Important points to consider:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Details regarding the date/time of the two preparation sessions for First Eucharist and the date of the practice and ceremony for First Communion are provided on a separate calendar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Preparing for First Reconciliation or Penance

 

Parents have a right and a responsibility to be intimately involved in preparing their children for first penance.Parents need to attend the preparation sessions with their children in order to gain the understanding to carry out this right and responsibility.By attending these sessions with your children, parents will grow in their own understanding and appreciation of reconciliation, and be better able to participate in the sacrament themselves and in catechizing their children.Parents are to teach their children at an early age what the meaning of forgiveness is and offer forgiveness to them throughout their lives.

 

Catechesis of children seeks:

- to make clear the relationship of the sacrament to the childís life

- to help the child recognize moral good and evil, repent of wrongdoing, and turn for forgiveness to Christ and the Church

- to encourage the child to see that faith is expressed by being forgiven and forgiving

- to encourage the child to approach the sacrament freely and regularly.

 

Important points to consider are:

  • A child is considered ready to celebrate the sacrament of penance when there is:
  • An awareness of the relationship of love with God and neighbor
  • A growing ability to distinguish between good and evil
  • A knowledge that relationships with God and others can be broken through Sin
  • The need to assume personal responsibility for actions or omissions
  • An awareness of conscience (the need to make choices)
  • The experience of personal sorrow for failures to love and the need to express that sorrow.
  • The realization that one must try to change unloving behavior
  • An acceptance of personal and communal responsibility for decisions and the consequences of those decisions
  • An understanding that the sacrament of penance is a special sign of Godís forgiveness and of reconciliation with oneís neighbor
  • An awareness that the Church provides the opportunity to experience Godís loving forgiveness.

 

Details regarding the date/time of the two preparation sessions for First Reconciliation and the date for families to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation are provided on a separate calendar.