Preparing for Your Child’s First Sacraments
What is necessary for a child to receive the first sacraments?
The sacramental preparation program at Notre Dame Parish is designed to help children receive the preparation they need in order to properly and reverently receive the sacraments of First Reconciliation, Confirmation, and First Holy Communion. Several years ago, the Archbishop of Denver “restored the order” of the sacraments of initiation and of Reconciliation. This dropped the age of confirmation from high school to 3rd grade and raised the age of First Communion from 2nd grade to 3rd. (For more information from the Archdiocese of Denver) Now, all children in 3rd grade or above are invited to be prepared for these sacraments.
While some emphasis on these sacraments will be given in the third grade, it is not possible to adequately prepare children to receive these sacraments in limited classroom settings. Therefore, in addition to their participation in the faith formation program, all parents of children in grades 3-12 who desire that their children receive these sacraments will prepare them at home to do so. Materials, workbooks, and assistance will be provided to parents. The form of this assistance will vary depending on the number of children enrolled in first sacrament preparation.
(A additional formation program is being constructed for parishioners in grades 9-12 who wish to be confirmed.)
All children being prepared to receive these sacraments will demonstrate their personal desire to be a friend of Jesus Christ, to receive these sacraments, to practice the faith, and demonstrate that they have learned the fundamentals of that sacrament and its graces to be received. Children may be interviewed by a priest, deacon, or the director of religious formation prior to being invited to receive the sacrament. The interviewer has the right to recommend to the pastor that a child’s reception of the sacrament be postponed and that further formation and catechesis occur in its regard.
There is no Christian life without Sunday Eucharist. And the Sunday Eucharist is the singular and most important formator of children and families in the faith. Nothing that is taught in the faith formation program will be learned if it is not celebrated by the family at the Sunday Eucharist. It is only logical that if a child desires to receive the sacraments of Reconciliation, Confirmation, and First Communion, he/she is present at the Eucharist on Sundays where the Lord most abundantly pour forth the graces of those sacraments into his disciple’s soul.
The Lord commands that his disciples celebrate the Eucharist every Lord’s Day, which is Sunday. And Notre Dame Parish asks its parishioners to do so at Notre Dame Parish. Catechesis on Wednesdays will include a discussion of the readings, homilies, and celebrations of the Eucharist the preceding Sunday. A family’s faithful participation in weekly Sunday worship may be considered in determining a child’s readiness to receive the sacraments. Children in 5-8 grades are invited to be altar servers. Parents are invited to become greeters, lectors, and/or extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion.