FIRST HOLY COMMUNION
FIRST HOLY COMMUNION
The Sacrament of First Holy Communion
We begin the parish based preparation programme for the Sacrament of First Holy Communion - ‘Do This In Memory’ in September.
In the past the school had the responsibility of preparing children for this Sacrament and they did an excellent job. This programme is designed to facilitate the active involvement of parents/guardians and the wider parish community to work with the school in the preparation of children for the Sacrament of First Holy Communion.
We situate this Programme at the 12.30p.m. Family Mass. We hope the experience of being at a Mass where the children are acknowledged, where they are called by name, where their candles are lit, their voices heard, their songs sung will help them to feel at home in the Church, to feel that they belong and are welcome.
This programme is introduced early each September to the parents who desire this Sacrament for their children in the following year. At this meeting we will issue an invitation to parents to join a co-ordinating group. This group will meet monthly with the Parish Team to organise the next Sunday Mass of the programme.
Our first Mass each year is the ‘Enrolment Ceremony.’ It is at this Mass the children are first presented to the Parish community. There is then one Mass per month until the First Communion Day itself.
On the right side of the Altar is our Sacred Space. It is here at the start of each Mass the children place their candles which are lit for the duration of the Mass. The Sacred Space is decorated by the parents with the help and guidance of Dorothy Gray (who is responsible for all Church décor) and is in keeping with the theme of the season.
The children also take an active part in each Mass by singing a hymn they have learnt in school, taking part in the opening procession, coming up around the Altar to sing the Our Father and bringing up the offertory gifts. At each Mass the priest invites the parents to present their child for a blessing at Communion time.
At the end of each Mass the parents receive a copy of the Parish 'Do this in Memory' Newsletter. This reminds families of what has happened at Mass and encourages them to reflect on it. It also helps parents to prepare for the next Sunday of the programme and invites parents to practise the responses to the Mass with their children. Each month the ‘Do this in Memory’ Newsletter will focus on a different response. Each month we send a letter home reminding parents of the next Mass. Attached to this letter is a worksheet for each child which they complete and bring to the next Mass. All the children’s work is hung on the wall. Parishioners are invited to look at their work and get to know these young children as they prepare for their special day. We hope this will make the children feel welcome and very special as the whole Parish Community shares this preparation journey with them. Anne Flanagan