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The initiation of children into sacramental life is primarily the responsibility of Catholic parents. Our hope is that parents will form and gradually increase within their children a spirit of faith, and with the help of the school and parish community prepares them for the fruitful reception of the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist. The role of parents is also expressed by their active involvement in the celebration of the Church’s Sacraments, principally in the weekly celebration of Mass. We outline below our Diocesan approach to the programme of preparation for the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist
INDICATORS OF READINESS TO CELEBRATE THE SACRAMENTS
To celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the candidate will, according to his /her age and capacity:
- know that God loves them and is always ready to forgive no matter what;
- knows and understands what is meant by sin;
- be able to reflect on their own behaviour;
- want to express sorrow and make amends;
- appreciate the place and importance of Reconciliation.
To celebrate the Sacrament of the Eucharist, the candidate will according to his/her age and capacity:
- know about Jesus, pray to him and want to receive Communion with him and his Church;
- show reverence and respect;
- know the difference between Holy Communion and ordinary bread;
- be attentive and aware of what is happening during the Sacrifice of the Mass;
- have some sense of belonging to the parish family.
THE ROLE OF THE PARISH COMMUNITY
- To engage candidates and their families in the life and mission of the parish community;
- To welcome candidates and their families regardless of their level of commitment to the church;
- To provide family friendly opportunities for candidates and their families to participate in aspects of parish life not connected to the school;
- To take a lead in the monthly celebrations of First Reconciliation and First Communion. This is done through the diocesan catechetical programme, the parish liturgical celebrations and parent/carer meetings. Parishes focus on candidates spiritual development and builds bonds between Catholic families;
- To arrange with the school, meetings for parents/carers on the practicalities of the sacramental programme.