Children entering Year 3(Children of 7/8 years or older) of primary school will be eligible to receive Holy Communion for the first time next summer.It is the duty, and privilege, of parents to prepare their child for this important step, with the support of the Parish. To this end, there are regular sessions for the children together with their parents/carers, each month. In order to undertake this programme, it is important that you are prepared to make the following commitments:
You must attend the information meeting on Monday, 18th September at 7.30pm
To attend all of the sessions together with your child(Usually one Saturday each month, 10:00 – 11.30 AM)
Please understand that missing sessions with no good reason will mean deferring your child’s First Holy Communion until next year
To attend Mass weekly, as a family.
To spend time regularly with your child, continuing on from the group sessions and working on the book at home.
Please note that children should be prepared for their First Holy Communion in the parish where the family regularly worships.
During Mass on the weekend of 30th September/1st October, you will be invited to stand up and make that commitment in the presence of the congregation.
If you feel that you as a family are ready for this solemn undertaking, then please fill in the attached registration form and return it to the parish office by Monday, 11th September at the latest with:
1. A copy of the child’s Baptism certificate
2. Payment of £25 (or a first payment of £12.50) *
* If this payment will cause you difficulty, please speak in confidence to Fr Doug
A Word from Fr Doug Bull, our Parish Priest
Dear Parent or Guardian,
A very important challenge lies ahead of you and you must think and pray very carefully before making a commitment to this programme of sacramental preparation with your child.
At baptism a promise was made to God, to the Church and to your child to bring the child to Mass each week. Many have dutifully and joyfully fulfilled that promise and will be eagerly awaiting the opportunity to prepare their child for the next two sacraments with the support of this parish. For others that baptismal promise has proved too much – for a variety of reasons, which I understand. For you, entering this programme may involve returning to the weekly practice of your Faith and most certainly ensuring that your child is here every week. This may involve radical change in your family’s routine at the weekend. Please consider very carefully the promise you are about to make and if you think you might not be able to keep your promise at this time then maybe next year would be better. If during the year ahead it turns out that you or your child are unable to fulfil what is required you will in any case be invited to defer to next year.
What lies ahead though is a marvellous opportunity for you to support your child in developing their individual relationship with God:
The Sacrament of Reconciliation, currently resurgent in the Church, respects your child’s growing moral maturity. We will help you to show that some actions (and thoughts and words) are not just disapproved of by you or others, but are in fact wrong, wrong in the sight of God, but that wonderfully they can be forgiven by God and He expresses this forgiveness personally through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. We will help you prepare your child to begin making confessions and thus receive God’s love and mercy.
The second Sacrament that we are preparing for is of course Holy Communion. God loves us so much that He wants to share His life with us and while He does this in prayer and in other ways, His chosen expression is through the sharing in a sacrificial meal of food and drink, which is the Body and Blood of Jesus Himself. This intimate and personal gift is celebrated each and every week and we need to receive it over and over again in order to begin to be able to “hear” God saying: “I love you”. From the earliest days the disciples used to meet for the Breaking of Bread and to read the scriptures – old and new. It is what Jesus wanted.
What great gifts you can enable your child to receive and what a tragedy it will be if you sell them short by not giving all the effort that is required. The responsibility is yours but be assured that our Parish Catechists will do everything they can to support you. They are extraordinarily generous in giving so much time, effort and professional application to you and your child. They are quite literally God’s gift to you, so please be nice to them, even if they are telling you off for being late!
The programme that we follow here at Holy Cross is called ‘I Belong’ and it follows the structure of the Mass, from when we bless ourselves as we enter the church, until we are sent forth at the end of the Mass ‘…to love and to serve the Lord’.
Our first session, in September, looks back at our Baptism, which made us all members of the same family—that of the Church throughout the world.
From then until December we prepare for the children’s First Reconciliation, which takes place during Advent.
In January we begin by looking at the different parts which make up the Mass and why it is so important for us to gather as a congregation each week to share in the Eucharist.
There are four more sessions before First Communion at the end of May.
In June we gather for a final time to reflect on the fact that we have reached an important stage together, but it is not the end of the journey, and we are all sent out to show by our lives that we are true Christians.
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The children work, with their parents, in small groups with their own catechists. Over the course of the year each group will have their turn to prepare and read the Prayers of the Faithful (the Bidding Prayers) during Mass. This usually happens during the 10.00 am Mass on Sunday, please ensure that your child is there when it is their turn.
Please note that it is not possible to offer child care facilities during the First Communion sessions. Parents will need to make alternative arrangements for any younger children.
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First Communion dates 2017-2018
Monday 18th September 7.30 pm: Introductory evening for parents
Saturday 30th September: In the name of the Father
Looking back at our Baptism, the reason why we are here.
Up until Christmas, we concentrate on preparation for the Sacrament of Reconciliation
Saturday 4th November :Lord, have mercy
Saturday 18th November :Celebrating our rescue
Saturday 9th December:God helps us to get it right
Saturday 16th December :First Reconciliation
Saturday 13th January 2018:Glory to God in the highest
The Mass is like a song of praise and thanksgiving for the gift of God’s son.
Saturday 3rd February :The word of the Lord
We listen to God’s word and respond in the prayer of the faithful
Saturday 3rd March :Bread to offer/Fruit of the vine
We acknowledge God’s gifts to us—and respond generously
We prepare to receive the Body and Blood of Christ
Saturday 14th April:Do this in memory of Me
Saturday 5th May:The body of Christ
FIRST COMMUNION WEEKENDS
Ascension weekend 12/13 May 2017
Pentecost weekend 19/20 May 2017
We next meet on the eagerly anticipated weekends when the children will receive their First Holy Communion.
There will be practise sessions for each Mass, on the Saturday of your chosen weekend, in the church, at these times.
Please be punctual for the practice sessions as there is a lot to do!
On the big day, please arrive at least 15 minutes before Mass starts to enable everyone to be in a calm and prayerful state before we start this important celebration. (NB. If you arrive too late for your child to take part in the entrance procession, their First Communion will be delayed until another occasion.)
After receiving Holy Communion, please encourage your child to kneel for a moment to say a prayer of thanksgiving and then sit quietly with you to think about what a sacred time this is. There will be plenty of time to admire each other’s outfits later!
We welcome family and friends to this important occasion, so each family will have a pew reserved for them. If you have family members who do not share our faith or who do not wish to receive Communion, they are invited to come and receive a blessing from Fr Doug or the Eucharistic minister instead.
A few reminders: Nofood or drink for one hour before Mass
Please remove any gloves before receiving Communion
No chewing gum!
NOphotography or video cameras during Mass
Please ensure mobile phones are switched off.
We are fortunate in our parish to have people from so many backgrounds and would like to include some of these traditions in our celebrations.
If you would like to bring gifts as part of the Offertory at Mass, then the St Vincent de Paul group would very much appreciate items which could be used to support the poorer people in our community. These could include such things as non-perishable foods, toiletries, babies’ nappies; or colouring books and crayons for children. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO TAKE PART IN THIS, but these are suggestions for those of you who would like to do so.
If you speak a different language at home, you may like to translate one of the bidding prayers for your child to read at your chosen First Communion Mass. Please only do this if your child is confident and happy to do so!
Above all, enjoy this special day and make it one to remember.
Don’t forget, we meet again on Saturday, 9th June at 10.00