First Reconciliation: Celebrated in December of the Grade 2 year
All persons are created in the image of God, who is perfect goodness. Yet, people do bad things. We are made to love, but we are free to choose to love or not to love. In every choice, whether we are conscious of it or not, we decide who we are and whether or not we will love. Choosing to do something that is against God’s Law of Love is sin. Sin damages the good persons we were meant to be. Sin alienates us from God and others. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is an opportunity for us to turn back to God who is always there to love us unconditionally. The word, reconcile means “to bring together”. In this Sacrament, we are enabled to heal the divisions that have separated us from others and to heal the divisions in our own hearts.
The children will use the Coming to Jesus textbook focusing on the Reconciliation unit for five weeks prior to the Sacrament. The students will come to understand that God loves us, always; that we make choices in our lives and some are good and some are bad; that we need to say “I’m sorry” when we hurt one another; that we need to tell God we are sorry when we hurt one another because we are also hurting Him when we sin.
The process of reconciliation will also be part of the curriculum: examination of conscience (thinking about the things we do that hurt others), confession (talking with the priest about these acts), penance (accepting the direction of the priest to better one’s decisions), and absolution (receiving God’s pardon).
When we are reconciled with God we are reconciled with one another. We are showing our willingness to change, seek growth, and to go and try, once again, to live as Jesus taught us to live.
First Reconciliation is offered to the children in Grade 2. The ceremony is a family celebration and parents and siblings are invited to experience the Sacrament as well.
First Eucharist: Celebrated in May of Grade 2
Eucharist at its roots is a sacrificial meal and all who share in it are challenged to offer themselves for the benefit of others, as Jesus offered Himself for our benefit.
We want our children to understand that Jesus loved his disciples so much that he wanted to stay with them, and so he left his sacred memory in the gift of bread broken and wine shared. By saying “do this in memory of me” he expressed his desire to have us remember his gift of love, the gift of himself. After his resurrection and ascension, this gift of gathering and remembering sustained many of the early disciples and gave them strength to continue preaching his message. The Sacrament, then, is more than receiving the bread and wine, it is gathering, listening to the word of Jesus, sharing in the meal and going out and living according to Jesus’ word. Hence, the Mass – the gathering, the hearing of the Word, the prayer of thanksgiving, the sharing in the Body and Blood, and the going forth are all part of the Eucharistic meal and each part is essential to the memory of Jesus. By participating in the Mass we are all making a commitment to Jesus and further, to each other. The sacrament of Eucharist challenges us to be in unity with each other. Even when there are differences, the breaking of the one loaf calls us to seek unity with all who gather around the table.
Our First Eucharist Program also uses the text Coming to Jesus. For preparation the focus is on the Mass. To participate in Eucharist is to participate in the Mass. There is a chapter devoted to each part of the Mass and throughout the lessons there is always a correlation to family celebrations – known experiences for the children.
Because this Sacrament should be supported and exemplified by the parents, there are parent participation requirements. Parents are required to:
1. regularly attend Sunday liturgy
2. attend two Parent Meetings
3. attend a Parent/Child activity day
4. insure regular attendance at classes for your child
Confirmation: Celebrated in October of the Junior Year in high school
Confirmation, like Baptism and Eucharist, is a sacrament of initiation. It is a graced moment in which our young people, after study and preparation, say yes to Jesus, to God’s gift of the Spirit, and to the Catholic community in which they share their faith. It is seen as an opportunity for growth – morally and spiritually.
We endeavor to provide a comprehensive program of preparation that allows each student to be touched by the Lord. Through class instruction, communal prayer, group activities, and service projects, the students will be exposed to the life of Jesus, challenged to explore their own lives, and then asked to go out and serve others.
The program is two years in length. During Grade 9 the students will meet once a month and explore their own knowledge and belief in God, what it means to be Catholic and how to incorporate that faith into their daily lives.
Grade 10 is more intense in the preparation for Confirmation. The students will have fourteen sessions – seven sessions in the fall and seven sessions in the winter/spring.
They have one additional class as well as a Retreat the following September and Confirmation is usually in October of the junior year. There are several requirements for the program:
1. Five hours of community service
2. No more than 2 absences during the grade 10 year (1 out of 7 each semester)
3. Parent attendance at a registration/parent meeting
4. Regular attendance at Sunday Liturgy