First Holy Communion 2017
On behalf of Canon William and the Catechist team, we would all like to send out our congratulations to the young people who we have been privileged to journey with in this important year. The faith journey towards the important sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist is a journey for life and it has been wonderful to see so much support for our young people from you the parents and our Parish community. May the presence of God be with them at any time in their life journey and may they always remember that He is always waiting, listening for our call. What a wonderful blessing they have received.
Corpus Christi Procession: All the children and families are invited to join in the Corpus Christi Procession. In this prayerful rite, the Sacred Host is exposed in a monstrance and is incensed during the singing of hymns and which always include the Tantum Ergo. The Priest makes the sign of the cross over the people with the monstrance containing the Sacred Host. This blessing is given in silence and it is followed by the Litany of the Blessed Virgin before finishing in silence. This ceremony dates back to the 13th century when processions of the Blessed Sacrament became common and devotional meetings of groups of people became common. Another modern use of this special ritual is in International Congresses when large groups of people from all over the world come together to pay homage to the Blessed Sacrament and try to increase devotion to Our Blessed Lord. This will conclude the First Holy Communion programme. Our thanks and appreciation goes to the parents, the children and everybody involved in helping us deliver the programme.
First Holy Communion Workshop 6th May 2017
The Communion Program sessions came to an end on Saturday when the 53 children joined their catechists in celebrating the last time that they will be together as a main group ( the remainder sessions until June will be opportunities for the two groups to journey together as they prepare for their communion on June 11 and 18 ) with a workshop centered around the Message of Laudato Si.
Deacon Tom McCarthy helped the children to reflect on why it is important to look after our environment. After just planting petunias and pansies, the children were reminded of their responsibility to look after their plants otherwise they will die. Using a Cafod animation of Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment, Laudato Si’, we considered why looking after the environment is important. From a local perspective we discussed the threat to health from pollution caused by traffic. Every day 20,000 vehicles pass St Anselm’s Church. Nitrogen dioxide pollution levels at St Anselm’s Catholic Primary School was measured at 43.1 earlier this year which exceed the EU legal limit of 40µg/m3 (40 micrograms per cubic metre of air).1 This is a direct result of traffic. Millions of people in East Africa are currently facing starvation mainly as a result of global warming which is caused by our use of fossil fuels.
In Laudato Si’ Pope Francis reminds us that we are all connected and we have a responsibility to look after the environment so that people now and also future generations can live. After watching the animated presentation, the children showed how aware they are and made the following brilliant suggestions to look after the environment: recycle as much as we can, turn off lights and water taps when not needed, use electric cars, don’t throw food away. Pope Francis says clearly that we have a moral duty to look after the environment so our life style does not hurt other people.
The morning then concluded with a special prayer session where the children came through the Door of Faith as they journeyed on individually towards their Eucharist goal. The final part of the morning centered around the reenactment of the Last Supper and a blessing by Father William. This has been a special and prayerful journey for all of us as we travel together and we ask your prayers for the children and the families on this special day.
First Holy Communion 2016
The First Holy Communion Programme will come to an end this week with the annual celebration of the Blessed Sacrament Procession. This year has seen an ever increasing number of our young people and their families being engaged in this most exciting and fruitful programme since January. Some forty-four young members of our community have been able to receive, as part of the programme the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Eucharist. This has only been possible by the dedication of the Parish Team and the unstinting giving up of time of some eighteen catechists who supported the programme in a regular and dedicated manner. The support of prayer sponsors, families and their commitment too, has enhanced the overall experience of the programme allowing each one of us on that journey, children, families, catechists and priests to appreciate the wonder of the Eucharist and the blessing of our Parish family. We wish the children in particular the joy of knowing that Jesus is their best friend always.
First Holy Communion: A fundamental catechetical requirement set out by Pius X in 1910 is that a child should be able to recognise that there is a distinction between the Eucharist and ordinary bread.
Three things are important in this celebration:
That we understand: Eucharistia
‘Thanksgiving’ for all the blessings in our lives.
‘Acknowledging’ the memory of Christ’s gift to us, which is real for us now.
‘Appreciating’ Christ is present in the word and Sacrament and in the clergy and people, whenever we are gathered.
It is the capacity to understand what the mystery of Christ means, and that they are able to receive the body and blood of Christ with faith and devotion. It is generally accepted that First Holy Communion is received around 8 years of age, but it is the readiness of the child that counts.
Preparation for First Holy Communion is a shared responsibility between home and parish. The Catholic school will also support the faith of home and family.
Children of the First Holy Communion class have an opportunity to see the re-enactment by catechists of Jesus on the road to Emmaus. They recognised Him in the “breaking of the bread”.
Catechists read the Passover story to members of the First Holy Communion programme. They had a fun morning workshop on Sat 25th April 2015. The workshop consisted of input from Revelation Ministry as well as a quiz, prayers and reflection. Father Will and Father Paul joined us for this fun morning. The programme will reach its final stage in the next few weeks as the individual groups settle into the final stage of instruction.
Preparation for Holy Communion
Older teenagers and adults will differ from that of infants and young children in that they will be part of a programme of adequate catechesis that may involve other programmes or special arrangement. Any special issues such as disability will be supported by the parish community. Please make issues known to the priest or parish team.
Practical points for First Holy Communion
Faith is caught not taught. It is important that faith example and regular Mass attendance is part of the preparation.
Canon Law assumes that children will understand at 7/8 years of age, depending on the child.
Families will be supported by the parish and school in their faith journey during this important year.
First Holy Communion preparation is part of the families’ long-term commitment to their faith journey.
It is important to reach out to the intellect and to the heart in this process.
This time of preparation is also an invitation to parents to reflect on their own faith.
The Parish Priest must be satisfied that any child presented for First Holy Communion is adequately catechised and prepared.
The process will include in one programme the children from both parish and parish school.
It will help the parish celebrate the life of the parish and the importance of young people. Prayer partners, sponsors and regular mention of our young people at the Masses.
It will give all participants an active role in liturgy through Mass, prayer and other services.
Regular weekly commitment will be required to attend Mass and the full programme.
The programme will be advertised in the parish newsletter in September with enrolment in October.
A letter of invitation will be sent out to each family once accepted on to the programme to a Registration morning in early December, when classes will commence in January and continue through until First Holy Communion Celebration in June that year.
Catechism classes for Children going to non-Catholic Schools
These sessions are held on Saturday at 10.45am until 11.30am in a little room past the lower new hall. Any children from 4 to 8 years of age willing to learn or revise their understanding of the faith for that age are welcome to attend.
We start and end with a prayer. The children learn the basic prayers with an explanation of their meaning and where we get them from e.g. references to the Bible. We read from the Children’s Bible of God, why they were created, the reason for their baptism and what it means to belong to the family of God.
As Advent approaches they will learn about the Incarnation and as Easter approaches – the reason for our redemption.
As we go through the Old Testament they learn about God’s promises – the covenants and the commandments.
The children have a little walk around the inside of our church where they learn about the sacramental signs and symbols, the right way to give reverence to God and genuflect. We also go through sections of the Mass so that they have some understanding, be more attentive and able to participate in the Mass. I explain the meaning of certain words and what it means to have grace. I am always amazed that they do remember when I test them at the next class.
Each time I remind them to add to their prayers at home a small intention – one week it could be for the children suffering from the effects of war – Syria, pray for faith, pray for the Pope and for our priests, for their teachers or friends and family etc. They are learning how to ask God to help them throughout the day with a spontaneous prayer from the heart and how to thank and praise God. We are also focusing on a simple morning offering prayer and a simple reconciliation prayer. They are learning about the devotion or dedication of each month such as the Rosary or a Patron Saint, Christmas or Easter and November to pray for our dead. The reference books we use are ‘Our Heavenly Father’ from the Faith and Life series, and from the Catholic Truth Society, St Joseph Picture Books, a Golden Treasury of the Catholic Faith.
If we have time the children have the chance to do some drawing with colour pencils and a small piece of homework; fill in the blanks or a word search relating to what we have learnt at that session.