Children recall their Baptism as they begin preparing for Reconciliation
Our children’s first experience of the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist are significant moments in their faith formation. Though sacramental preparation involves the whole family, greater focus is placed on the interaction between the child and parent.
Prior to our formal preparation of the sacrament of Reconciliation, we begin with reviewing the sacrament of Baptism. Rather than draw on our memories of Baptism in the classroom, we take the children to the baptismal pool in the church; there we begin with our gathering prayer. This is one class that they truly enjoy, it’s visual, and very sensory. Seeing through the experience of our children, what joy to splash and be blessed with the life-giving waters of Baptism.
There is more to dipping and splashing little hands in an upright pool of warm water at the entrance of the church. In this space around the baptismal pool, we recall the baptisms we witnessed in our families and those that occurred during Mass. Here we share stories of life-giving water. Here we are reminded that each time we enter the church to dip our hand into the baptismal pool and bless ourselves with the Sign of the Cross.
In preparation for our gathering ritual at the baptismal pool, children are encouraged to bring their baptismal candle; and most of them do. For our gathering, the lit Easter [Pascal] Candle is positioned next to the pool. One of the adults carefully removes the majestic candle from its stand, lowers it to the floor and the children reverently light their baptismal candle from it. They learn that the Pascal Candle plays a significant role at each Baptism for it signifies Christ the light, and reminds us that we are to bring the light of Christ to others.
Ministering to parents:
Parents are also invited to accompany the children to the church for the gathering ritual. Parents are the primary catechists in their child’s faith formation. We partner with them to discuss and implement meaningful activities to prepare their child for his/her first experience of Reconciliation.
Most importantly, our words and actions are grounded in prayer as we ask God for the graces to cultivate a meaningful sacrament process for all of the families. There is time for self-reflection as parents are asked to consider the following:
- What is my hope, my intention for my child during this year of sacramental preparation.
- How has my understanding and experience of Eucharist and Reconciliation evolved from my initial reception of the sacraments?
- The graces received at Reconciliation and Eucharist strengthen us to live our Baptism as disciples of Jesus, the Christ; when and where during the week, do I most experience the grace of God at work in my life?
- Do I live the belief, I am the Body of Christ in the family, the workplace, the neighborhood?