Preparing for First Communion: Do Try this at Home!

At St. Nicholas Religious Education (SCORE) in Evanston preparation for first Communion draws together parents, catechists, and the entire parish community.   Earlier this month we celebrated First Reconciliation. To accompany parents and children throughout this sacramental process has been for me, a profound experience of God’s mercy and forgiveness. Parents so faithfully and lovingly prepared their child for his/her first Reconciliation,  continue the journey to the Table of the Lord.
Following Sunday SCORE, I capture events that took place in the classroom and encourage parents to continue the process at home. Last week’s theme:  DO TRY THIS AT HOME! 
The following was sent to the parents: Last Sunday, the children were bursting with excitement as they jumped into preparation mode for first Communion.  The session engaged the children in three activities: approaching the Eucharistic Minister, committing to a Lenten practice, and observing what happens at Mass.
  • Each Sunday counts as we draw ever near to our children’s first Communion. This is a significant time in their faith formation and the children are now joining you and the faith community walking in the Communion procession. This procession reminds us that we are a pilgrim people constantly on the move yearning for our hungers to be satisfied by Jesus, the Bread of Life. At SCORE we practiced how to approach the Eucharistic Minister by crossing and placing our arms against our heart for a blessing.

    In addition, we practiced how to hold and cup our hands to receive the Body of Christ.  It was a little awkward for many of the children as they were figuring out which hand goes where when they approach the minister. The children practiced with  imaginary bread. It is such joy to arrange these little hands to receive the BREAD of LIFE. Let us remind them that we cup our hands to welcome Jesus into our hearts. Dear parents, I encourage you  DO TRY THIS AT HOME! 

  • At SCORE we are constructing a communal Lenten tree that will come to full bloom as we draw ever closer to Easter. Last Sunday we worked on the ground cover, as they wrote down one Lenten action they promised to do in the upcoming week.  Some of their promises for this week included:  Reading the Bible, helping the poor, praying each night, watering my mom’s plants, doing my chores, helping others, cooking food, helping my dad get things from the Home Depot, being kind, going to church, praying the OUR FATHER. In the upcoming weeks of Lent we will continue to nurture our Lenten tree by our promises for each week.

    What are you doing to nurture your heart this Lent. Check out the BEST LENT EVER series delivered each morning via email by Dynamic Catholic. (This is the same company we are using for sacramental prep.) Each morning I take time to listen to the message,  and to consider action steps. This first week of Lent I have found the message setting the direction for my day.  As we accompany our children during this time of preparation, let’s not forget to take care of our longings for the Divine.

  • Our final activity- Draw a picture of what you see at Mass. The children took this assignment very seriously, they were given a piece of light blue construction paper and spent 15 minutes illustrating what they see at Mass. This exercise provided space in which children identified family members, stain glass windows, church furniture, Fr. Tito (our pastor),  where and how they pray at Mass, and the two focal points of MASS –  THE AMBO – The Liturgy of the Word; THE TABLE – The Liturgy of the Eucharist.  This Sunday at SCORE their illustrations will be returned for them to take home. MY hope, as they share their picture with you that it becomes a teachable moment for both of you. Imagine if you did the assignment, what would your illustration portray?

    As we accompany our children through this Season of Lent may we grow together in our love of Eucharist. Let us pray for each other, especially for our children that the love of Eucharist may deepen and sustain them all the days of their lives.

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