It is with great joy that our parish welcomes children in grades two or above to the process of preparing to receive the Sacraments of Reconciliation and First Holy Communion. These Sacraments mark two very important steps a child’s faith journey. The Sacrament of Reconciliation gives us the opportunity to experience the great love and mercy of God by assuring us of the forgiveness of Jesus. In Holy Communion, Jesus Himself comes to us. He is present body, blood, soul and divinity under the appearance of bread and wine – what a mystery! In this great Sacrament we experience union with God and with our brothers and sisters more closely than anywhere else on earth.
Preparation for children to receive First Reconciliation and First Communion will begin in the Fall of 2020
Parents of children hoping to begin preparations to receive First Reconciliation and First Communion are encouraged to let the parish know.
The preparation process
In preparing your child for these important Sacraments, the parish, parents and Catholic school work together to educate candidates on particular matters of faith. Together with parents and teachers, clergy serving the parish will work together to ensure that candidates are properly instructed on the meaning and significance of the Sacraments they will be receiving and how they are to be celebrated.
How to enrol
Families living within the boundaries of, and registered and worshiping at, St. Thomas More Parish in Millbrook are welcome to enroll their children for the Sacrament once registration opens, usually in the summer or fall. In the meantime, parents are welcome to let the parish know that they are interested in learning more about the preparation process once more details are developed.
Families will be asked to provide a copy of each candidate’s baptismal certificate. Copies of your child’s baptismal certificate can be obtained from the parish where he/she was baptized. These can then be submitted to the parish priest at St. Thomas More Parish at Mass or dropped off at the Parish Office. Those baptized at St. Thomas More Parish do not need to provide a copy of their certificates.
Candidates from other parishes
Ordinarily, a candidate for any Sacrament should receive this Sacrament in his/her own parish. For a serious reason, a candidate, with the permission of his/her proper pastor, may receive these Sacraments in another parish. If a candidate from a parish other than St. Thomas More Parish in Millbrook wishes to receive the Sacraments of Reconciliation or their First Holy Communion at St. Thomas More Parish in Millbrook, we ask him or her to obtain a letter of blessing and permission from the proper pastor.
Children are asked to attend several Sacramental Preparation sessions at St. Thomas More Parish as well as one retreat held at St. Alphonsus parish in Peterborough; these sessions are expected to be up to an hour and a half in length. Attendance and participation at these sessions is mandatory and assures us that the children who seek to receive these Sacraments are properly prepared and recognize these moments as serious steps in their faith journey. We understand that many families have many commitments or other circumstances that might prevent them from attending these sessions and so we are very willing to make alternative arrangements to ensure that your child is prepared and ready to receive these Sacraments. Please review the dates for the sessions found on the last page of this package and mark your calendar. Families who are unable to attend these sessions should contact the parish priest as soon as possible so that alternate arrangements can be made.
Why do this? Does it not all happen at school?
The Sacraments are about a faith relationship found within the community of the Church, not membership in a school. At some point in their life, students graduate from their school; they may visit, but their school will not be the place they go back to for healing in a moment of crisis, for sacramental care in a time of joy, or for direction when they are called to grow and mature in life. A Parish, a faith community, is a place you never graduate from, and through the Sacraments one declares, “I want to be a member of a community of faith for life” Through our community, the faithful, including our children, grow and become who God wants them to be!
Attendance at Mass
At baptism, parents promise to take the responsibility of raising their children in the practice of the faith. Through the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Communion, candidates are being strengthened in their Christian commitment and beginning the process of taking personal responsibility for their faith. In order to encourage this, candidates and their families are strongly encouraged to attend Mass regularly. This is, indeed, a grace filled time for candidates and family members alike. The best spiritual preparation for the candidates and the best example by the parents involves faithful Catholic practice.
The Sunday Eucharist is at the very centre, the “heartbeat”, of the Catholic Christian; it is, after all, what receiving the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Communion are all about. Every aspect of our Catholic life, everything else we do, is rooted in our celebration of the Sunday Mass and without it our Christian lives are incomplete. It is important that our actions match our inner thoughts, so, candidates looking to receive these two Sacraments who also have the intention of not entering a church again for some time afterwards should question whether or not this is the appropriate time in their lives to receive these Sacraments. The most consequential way parents can help their children prepare for any sacrament is to participate regularly with him/her in the Sunday Eucharist (every week). At St. Thomas More Parish in Millbrook, your family are invited and welcome to join our Sunday Masses:
Saturday, 4pm and Sunday 9am at St. Thomas More church in Millbrook;
Sunday, 11:30am at St. Bernadette mission in North Nestleton
May God bless you as you continue on your journey of faith. Of course, If I can be of any assistance or answer any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. The entire parish community shares your excitement as you prepare for these beautiful Sacraments!