As part of the Enhancing Home-School-Parish Links section of this website, you will find many ways in which home, school and parish can work together to prepare children for the sacraments of First Reconciliation, First Eucharist and Confirmation. One of the most successful of these is the implementation of parish-based sacramental preparation programmes. Three of these programmes are outlined in this section: Do This In Memory for First Eucharist;You Shall Be My Witnesses and Confirming our Children for Confirmation.
Do This In Memory (Fr Martin Delaney and Maeve Mahon)
Do This in Memory offers parents/guardians, children and the parish community the opportunity to prepare together for First Penance and First Communion. The programme is designed to take place within the context of the Sunday Parish celebration of the Eucharist. It is then continued in the home through the use of activities and resources for both parents/guardians and children. This highlights the importance of the Sunday Eucharist as a place where we gather, are nourished by the Word and the Bread of Life, and are sent forth to live the Gospel. It also acknowledges the home as the most important and significant place, where the faith of our children is nurtured, nourished and sustained.
The programme begins with an Enrolment Sunday in late September or early October and then continues on one Sunday a month concluding on the feast of Corpus Christi. The Sundays on which the programme takes place have been specially chosen because of the Gospels accessibility to the children. The readings and Gospel taken from the Children’s Lectionary are included in the Manual. Suggestions for the Prayer of the Faithful and a Communion Reflection are also offered.
The Coordinator’s Manual offers homily guidelines and suggestions for making the Sunday celebration, and indeed the church environment, a place where children feel welcome and have a sense of belonging. It is available from Veritas.
You Shall Be My Witnesses
You Shall Be My Witnesses is a parish-based preparation programme for Confirmation. It is a resource designed to encourage active partnership between those involved in parish leadership, parents and members of the wider parish community as they help children to prepare for the sacrament of Confirmation.
Over the course of five one-hour sessions the prorgramme offers parents and members of the parish community the opportunity to share their faith with the candidates and hopefully create a space where all can learn from each other.
You Shall Be My Witnesses explores the themes of belonging, believing, being, becoming and beginning again as full members of the church.
The programme requires two adult leaders (preferably parents, but may also be members of the parish community) to each eight candidates. One hour-long session takes place each week for the four weeks before Confirmation. The fifth and final session is a joint session with all candidates and parents, and it takes place after Confirmation. Adults who volunteer to be leaders are given training in the content and structure of the programme.
You Shall Be My Witnesses is available from Veritas. The children’s material includes:
- Enrolment Flier
- Confirmation Journal
- Four Newsletters
- Commitment Certificate
- Completion Certificate
A Leader’s Book and Coordinator’s Book are also available.
Confirming our Children (Alive-O Writing Team)
In the ‘More!’ section of Alive-O 8, there is a series of five rituals which are offered for use by parish personnel. They are entitled:
Fanning the Flame – A Gathering Ritual
Witnesses to the Spirit – A Ritual of Commitment
Affirming our Baptism – A Ritual of Blessing
Called by Name Ritual
Blessed with Oil Ritual
The aim of these rituals is to give the local faith community an opportunity to support the children preparing for Confirmation in a very real, public way. Where possible, it is intended that the rituals take place during the Saturday evening Vigil Mass. They require the active support and participation of the local clergy and liturgy groups, who will be involved in the planning and preparation process. All five rituals are contained in a book for priests and parish personnel entitled Confirming Our Children. It is available from Veritas.