Our Sacramental Program for First Reconciliation, First Holy Communion and Confirmation is implemented and supported by the parish. The program is strongly supported by our IHM Primary School, as well as the catechists who attend the 4 state primary schools in our parish. Our program is also “family-centred”, which requires full involvement from parents and children in all lessons during the program.
The first step in the Sacramental Journey is the First Reconciliation. Reconciliation is a sign and experience of God’s unconditional forgiveness and mercy. We are called to be one people united with Christ and one another in grace and love. Unfortunately, in our weakness this unity is often broken through failures to love when we sin. But God’s love for us does not stop when we fail. By expressing our sorrow for our sins in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we experience forgiveness and healing. Our relationship with God and our unity as the Church is reconciled and made whole again.
Reconciliation is available for all baptised Catholic children in Year 2 and above. Children must make this sacramental confession before the reception of First Holy Communion. The Reconciliation program entails:
- Parent Night: An information evening where the parents of the Reconciliation candidates receive all the information and materials related to the Program
- Commitment Sunday: Presentation of the Reconciliation candidates to the Parish community
- Four Group Sessions: Once a week over four weeks, parents and children meet to learn Jesus’ teachings about Reconciliation and its importance and place in their lives. Each week begins with attendance at Sunday Mass
- Sacrament of Reconciliation: Candidates partake in their First Reconciliation at Sunday Mass
First Holy Communion
The sacrament of Holy Communion is celebrated as the second Sacrament of Initiation, followed after Reconciliation. In this sacrament, we remember what Jesus did for us in his life, death and resurrection. We focus particularly on the Last Supper, that final meal Jesus shared with his disciples. At that meal, Jesus gave us the Eucharist so that we could remember him in a special way. When we receive Communion, we believe that we receive the person of Jesus into our very beings. We become one with him, and we become one with each other. As a community we become ‘the body of Christ’.
The Eucharist is the continual celebration of our Christian life. Our celebration of Communion brings into focus of all true loving Jesus’ sacrifice brought to us and shows us where such love will lead us – into the hands of God. Each time we take the Eucharist at mass, Christ comes among us reassuring us of his love.
Catholic children in Year 3 and above who have made their First Reconciliation are eligible for First Holy Communion. The first Holy Communion Program provides an opportunity for parents to fulfill the promise they made at their child’s Baptism to instruct their children in the Catholic Faith. The programs details are as follows:
- Parent Night: An information evening where the parents of the Holy Communion candidates receive all the information and materials related to the Program
- Commitment Sunday: Presentation of the Holy Communion candidates to the Parish community
- Four Group Sessions: Once a week over four weeks, parents and children meet to learn about Jesus’ sacrifice and its importance and place in their lives. Each week begins with attendance at Sunday Mass
- Retreat Day: Candidates to attend mass and Reconciliation in preparation for the Sacrament
- First Holy Communion Mass: Candidates receive Holy Communion for the first time
Receiving Confirmation brings completion to the Sacramental Journey and one’s entry into the Church. Confirmation is a sacrament of empowerment. It presumes a level of mature faith that leads young Catholics to commit themselves fully to unity with Christ in their lives and to unity with the People of God. It is closely linked with Baptism and brings to further fulfillment what was begun in baptism. Through the receiving of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit, it gives us the strength to follow Jesus and to become involved in the mission which Jesus left to the Church.
To receive this sacrament, candidates must have:
- Sponsor: A practising Catholic and is 16 years of age or older. The sponsor should be a person who the candidate will feel comfortable and be proud to take with them to talk about Jesus to anyone.
The role of the sponsor is to present the candidate to the Bishop for anointing and provide spiritual guidance and support to the candidate through the next phase of their journey in faith. It is recommended that the sponsor be a godparent, as Confirmation is an extension of baptism.
- Confirmation Name: A name belonging to a canonised Saint of our Catholic faith chosen by the candidate. Effectively the candidate is asking this Saint to be their friend and advocate for the rest of their life because they chose this Saint because of their admiration for their deeds or qualities.
Catholics in Year 6 or above who have received the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Communion are eligible to enrol in the Confirmation program. This program involves:
- Parent Night: An information evening where the parents of the Confirmation candidates receive all the information and materials related to the Program
- Commitment Sunday: Presentation of the Confirmation candidates to the Parish community
- Four Group Sessions: Once a week over four weeks, parents and children meet to learn about empowerment and gifts of the Holy Spirit and how to develop and maintain their faith throughout their lives. Each week begins with attendance at Sunday Mass
- Retreat Day: Candidates attend mass and Reconciliation in preparation for the Sacrament
- Confirmation Ceremony Mass: Candidates receive the Sacrament of Confirmation