Sacramental Preparation Process
Sacramental preparation is best understood in a larger context than religious education alone. Participation in the Sacraments is, after all, participation in the ongoing life of the church. We prepare young people not for once-in-a-lifetime sacramental moments but for a lifetime of being open to the grace of God.
The Diocese of Worcester encourages parish sacramental programs to be family centered, age appropriate and freestanding, (that is separate from school and formal graded religious education programs). It is assumed that preparation for sacraments will happen in the context of a commitment to life-long faith formation in your home parish.
Each of our sacramental preparation programs is designed for the children, and families of the entire parish faith community. These programs are equally well suited for students who attend the our parish Religious Education Program and Catholic Schools.
For Reconciliation & Eucharist
It is the official policy of our diocese, in keeping with the practice of the universal church that young people are to be prepared to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation a.k.a. Penance or Confession before receiving the Eucharist for the first time.
Some parents wonder if their child is ready to receive Reconciliation at this young an age. You know your child best and it is up to you to decide when your child is ready to receive these two sacraments.
Generally children are judged old enough to receive these sacraments any time after their 7th birthday, however if you, as a parent, feel that you child is not ready, you may choose to put off reception of these sacraments until he or she is more mature.
Children are considered mature enough to receive Reconciliation when they have: 1. an understanding of the difference between a mistake and a choice to do something wrong and 2. know that God loves them no matter what they have done.
Children are considered mature enough to receive their First Eucharist when they are able to: 1. express a desire to receive the Eucharist, 2. participate regularly at Mass and 3. recognize that there is a difference between the Eucharist and ordinary bread & wine.
Please keep in mind that we prepare children so they may embrace these sacraments to the best of their ability. It is not our expectation that they will or should have a fully mature understanding of them. As Pope St. Pius X so wisely understood, when moving the celebration of first Eucharist to the age of reason, children do not need to fully understand the mystery of these sacraments to receive the fullness of their grace. It is the job of our entire faith community to lead them to a full appreciation of these sacraments as they grow to maturity.
Regular Mass Attendance
Our weekly celebration of the Eucharist at Mass is at the very heart of our Catholic Faith. As Catholics we believe that when we receive the Eucharist we receive no less than the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Savior, Jesus Christ.
As we prepare children for their 1st Eucharist we share with them the belief that Christ is present in the Eucharist and invites us to receive this precious gift of Himself every week.
Children who never or rarely attend Mass often feel lost when their catechists and peers enthusiastically discuss how much Jesus loves them and shows His love through the Eucharist. If for some reason your family does not already attend Mass weekly we encourage you to use the beginning of your child’s preparation for these sacraments as your inspiration to begin attending Mass regularly so your child can feel comfortable approaching the Eucharist.
The Preparation Process.
Parents/guardians who choose to enroll their children in our preparation process for 1st Eucharist and 1st Reconciliation will be expected to attend Sacramental Preparation Sessions with their child (only 1 parent or guardian needs to attend). Each session will include some activities for parents and children together and some time when catechists will meet with the children while the parents are meeting with their peers and the DRE. During the adult portion of these sessions you will be invited to explore your own understanding of the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist and be given information that will prepare you to share your faith with your child at home. We spend this time focusing on parents because we believe that you are the best teachers of the faith for your child and that it is the church’s responsibility to support you in that role.
Children will do approximately ½ of their preparation here with their catechist and will be helped by parents to complete the other ½ at home.
Your commitment to Regular Mass attendance and full participation in the preparation process cannot be dismissed lightly. While we understand that emergencies arise, it is our expectation that families will make this special time of preparation a priority
2013-14 Preparation Schedule.
Each preparation session will be repeated on the same weekend you may choose to attend the session at the parish whose schedule works best for your family.
All Saturday Sessions will be held at Sacred Heart School from 10 – 11:30 a.m. all Sunday Sessions will be held at Holy Rosary in the Church Hall from 11:30a.m. – 1 p.m.
Saturday November 2nd or Sunday November 3rd
Saturday December 7th or Sunday December 8th
Saturday January 4th or Sunday January 5th
Celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliaion
Saturday, January 11th at Sacred Heart Church
February 8th or February 9th
March 8th or March 9th
March 22nd or March 23rd
Potluck Luncheon and Banner Making
April 6th at 11:30 in Holy Rosary Church Hall
First Communion Celebrations
Families may choose in February which celebrations they wish to attend.
Saturday, May 3rd at 4:30p.m. at Sacred Heart
Sunday, May 4th at 10:30 a.m. at Holy Rosary
Saturday, May 10th at 4:30p.m. at Holy Rosary
Sunday, May 18th at 10 a.m. at Sacred Heart