As a child preparing for my first confession and communion (little more than 50 years ago) the process focused a lot on the memorization of prayers and numerous questions from the Baltimore Catechism. I knew “God made the world”, and “God made me to love Him and serve Him and be happy with Him in this world and the next.” Memorization became vital to determining my readiness as I came to know that a sacrament is “an outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace.” The bottom line – sacramental preparation was recite the questions, know the prayers and go to Mass each Sunday. My first confession took place Friday, May 5, two days later I made my first communion.
My intent here is not to minimize my formative years of the early 1960’s, or the methods used during this time. Change happens and through reflection on Scripture, theology, prayer, discussions I grew in my understanding and experience of the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist. A similar pathway happens to all of us as we are presented with many stepping stones to grow in our understanding of the sacraments. As you accompany your child during this special year of faith formation be attentive to God’s grace throughout the process. You will be surprised, awed, and at times a little perplexed. Be assured, change happens throughout the process.
What to expect:
- This year is a continuation of what began when you presented your child to the Faith Community at his/her Baptism. Signed with the cross, immersed in water, anointed with oil, presented a lit candle, and dressed in a white garment, we celebrated your child’s new life in Jesus the Christ. The Faith Community pledged to support you in your child’s faith formation.
- The grace of the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist strengthens our resolve to live the Gospel [Good News] of Jesus that God’s love and mercy transforms our way of being in the world.
- First Reconciliation [sometimes called Penance or Confession] and First Communion are not one-time events. Reconciliation and Eucharist celebrate our children’s growing awareness of God’s grace in their lives. With joy we welcome them to the Table of the Lord.
- The sacramental process is for all of us, walking with our children our understanding and experience of Reconciliation and Eucharist will be renewed and refreshed.
From the children’s textbook, “Preparing to receive the Sacraments of Eucharist and Reconciliation is like getting ready to take an important trip. You do have to prepare, and the goal of the journey is to grow closer to God. The good news is that God is with you every step of the way.”