Catholic children in Year 3 receive the Sacraments of Reconciliation and First Holy Communion. Catholic children in Year 6 receive the Sacrament of Confirmation (see our Confirmation from February 2019 here).
These Sacraments form an integral part of the whole school and parish community.
Preparation formally begins in the Autumn term and is supported by school and our parish priest working and meeting together. Parent meetings are held in school to ensure that parents are involved in this special event in their child's life.
In Year 3 children receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. In preparation for this Sacrament, the children reflect on the fact that they are children of God and that this impacts on the way they treat others.
Through studying Bible stories such as Zacchaeus the tax collector and parables like the Prodigal Son, the children learn about Jesus’ teachings on repentance and forgiveness.
They learn to appreciate that God created humans with free will thus allowing them to make a decision to make good and bad choices. The children learn to think about the consequences of their actions and how this affects their relationship with God.
The children learn the structure and sequence of the Rite of Reconciliation and are fully prepared to make their Reconciliation in Lent.
Prayer linked to Reconciliation - Act of Contrition
O my God, because you are so good,
I am very sorry that I have sinned against you,
And by the help of your grace I will not sin again.
First Holy Communion
Once the children in Year 3 have made the Sacrament of Reconciliation, they receive the Sacrament of First Holy Communion. This takes place inthe Summer term. The children work very hard at home, in school and in the parish to ensure that they are fully prepared to receive Jesus into their hearts.
Children are invited to participate in a Mass of enrolment along with their friends in Year 6 to make a commitment before God that they and their families will take on the responsibilities placed before them.
During Religious Education lessons in school, the children study the Last Supper when Jesus shared his last meal with the disciples. They look in particular at the breaking of the bread and how this is similar to the celebration of the Mass. By examining the words of Jesus at the Last Supper and the priest at Mass, they learn to appreciate that we are present with Jesus every time we go to Mass.
The children study all of the parts of the Mass in detail over the year but focus particularly on the Liturgy of the Eucharist leading up to the celebration of First Holy Communion. By exploring each of the parts of the Liturgy of the Eucharist in detail, the children learn that the Mass is a celebration of thanksgiving and that during the Eucharistic prayer, the priest asks the Holy Spirit to change the gifts of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus.
Alongside their lessons in school, the children are expected to attend Mass with their families each week and pray at home as a family. The children are encouraged to read Bible stories together and discuss their Religious Education lessons. The children are given various tasks to complete at home linked to their First Holy Communion.
During their final year in school, the children prepare to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation; this is usually celebrated one evening during February. The children prepare for the Sacrament at home, in class and in the parish.
Children are invited to participate in a Mass of enrolment along with their friends in Year 3 to make a commitment before God that they and their families will take on the responsibilities placed before them.
During Religious Education lessons in school, the children study the Holy Spirit in detail. They look at the fruits and gifts of the Holy Spirit and think about how these will work in their future lives. The children study the events of Pentecost and think about how they will be like the disciples when the Holy Spirit comes down upon them. As Confirmation is a Sacrament of initiation, the children explore how Baptism and Confirmation are linked, focussing in particular at the signs and symbols used in both.
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.
Alongside their lessons in school, the children are expected to attend Mass with their families each week and pray at home as a family. The children are encouraged to read Bible stories together and discuss their Religious Education lessons. The children are given various tasks to complete at home linked to Confirmation.
The evening itself is a great celebration with children, parents, clergy, staff and members of the parish.
Prayer linked to Confirmation - Prayer to the Holy Spirit
Come, Holy Spirit,
fill the hearts of your faithful,
and kindle in them the fir of your love.
Send forth your Spirit,
and they shall be created,
and you will renew the face of the earth.
O God, who has taught the hearts of the faithful
by the light of the Holy Spirit,
grant that by the gift of the same Spirit
we may be always truly wise,
and ever rejoice in his consolation,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.