The Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist
Preparing the Year 3 children to receive the Sacraments of Reconciliation and First Holy Communion is the joint responsibility of all members of staff, Fr. Anthony our parish priest, parish catechists and our parish community.
We have very strong links with our parish community and this is vital to the successful running of the First Holy Communion programme. Photographs of the children are displayed in church so that members of the parish know who they are praying for.
Although the children are prepared in Year 3, we build on the knowledge and understanding gained in the earlier years as well as the child's faith from home.
The programme begins in September when the children participate in a Presentation Mass. This enables the children and their families to make a clear symbol of commitment and dedication to the programme.
The children receive the sacrament of Reconciliation in February. This is a special occasion where children are supported by both staff and parents. Those accompanying the children have the opportunity to go to confession to a visiting priest.
On the actual day, a great emphasis is placed on the child and their family receiving the sacrament together. The rest of the school and parish community support them by preparing and taking part in the mass.
Following the receiving of the Eucharist, we have a Thanksgiving Mass where the Parish Prayer partners are invited to say thank you for all their prayers and support. Afterwards the prayer partners and children along with their families and friends join to celebrate with a tea party.
The Sacrament of Confirmation
During their final year at Our Lady's School, the children are prepared for and receive the Sacrament of Confirmation.
This begins with a meeting for parents with Fr. Anthony and staff from school where they are given the opportunity to find out more about the sacrament itself and then to discuss the programme which their children will follow.
This is followed by a mass of presentation which is prepared and led by the children along with the parish community. This shows that both parents and confirmandii are committed to take on the responsibilities placed before them. Photographs of the children are displayed in church so that members of the parish know who they are praying for.
The children are prepared following a school based programme and have a weekly lesson with work to continue at home. The programme is based on the Curriculum Strategy used in the Archdiocese of Birmingham. As part of their work, children prepare a project on the saint of their choice. They are encouraged to select the name of a saint who has inspired them in some way. A sponsor is also chosen and has the role of supporting the child in their spiritual life.
During this time the children have the opportunity of a spiritual retreat which enriches and deepens the understanding of their faith.
At the end of January or the beginning of February, the children spend time with Fr. Anthony and the Bishop ensuring that they are fully prepared and ready to receive the sacrament. The evening itself is a great celebration with children, parents, clergy, staff and members of the parish.