This Information Package is meant to be informative and to assist Candidates and their parents in the preparation for this Sacrament.

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1 1066 Western Avenue Peterborough, ON, K9J 5W6 First Reconciliation & First Holy Communion The Sacraments of First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion are very important steps in your child s faith journey. In Holy Communion, Jesus Himself comes to us. He is present body, blood, soul and divinity under the appearance of bread and wine - what a mystery! In this great Sacrament, we experience union with God and with our brothers and sisters more closely than anywhere else on earth. Reconciliation gives us the opportunity to experience the great love and mercy of God - to be freed from the burden of any sins we may have committed and to prepare our hearts for Holy Communion. We are assured of the forgiveness of Jesus himself, who works through his minister, the priest. At St. Alphonsus Liguori Parish, those catholics who are in grade two or older are invited to celebrate the Sacraments of First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion. This Information Package is meant to be informative and to assist Candidates and their parents in the preparation for this Sacrament. First Reconciliation: Sat., Jan. 23rd. First Holy Communion: May 29th at 9AM and 11AM and June 4th at 5PM & June 5th at 9AM and 11AM.

2 Dear Parents, Pope St. John Paul II, in On Catechesis in our Time, said, The definitive aim of catechesis is to put people not only in touch but in communion, in intimacy with Jesus Christ. (#5) This is especially true for sacramental catechesis; however our faith journey is so much more than education in the formal sense. The faith formation and transformation of the person throughout the faith journey so that convictions are strong, and there is an eagerness to share gifts as apprentices of Jesus, is a partnership with parents, parish, faith community and school. The home is the first experience of God s love, for it is here that the child first meets Jesus, feels God s love, is introduced to prayer, values, ethics and morals. Catholic tradition has always taught that the parents and guardians are the primary educators of their children in faith, and that handing on of the faith is supported by others. The parish faith community is at the heart of all learning, as it is here that the Holy Spirit resides. We are made for each other, and we need other disciples of Christ to learn and grow in God s love. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Hebrews 10:24 It is with great joy that St. Alphonsus unites with you in this next step. Through this partnership, the children will come to understand that they are valued individuals, able to articulate their gifts and claim their place in our communities. Through your own example; living a loving, forgiving and caring family, especially by participating weekly in the Sunday Mass and praying with them, will foster both faith and understanding. Throughout the sacrament season you will have opportunities to gather with the other candidates and families and celebrate moments of community and of course liturgy. Each of the program sessions encourages reflection, communication and offers lots of activities to do. Please mark the dates on your calendar as attendance is compulsory for the candidates and provides resources and support to the families. No alternate dates will be scheduled.

3 Registration A Registration form is available on the parish website for your child. Families living within the boundaries of, and worshiping at, St. Alphonsus Liguori Parish are invited to fill out the online Registration form by September 20th. (Canon Law clearly states that Sacraments should be celebrated in the family s home parish. While your candidate is most welcome to celebrate the rituals and sessions at St. Alphonsus, if your family is registered and worshiping at another Parish please consult with your pastor regarding celebration of these sacraments for your child. For those families worshiping at other parishes wishing to have their children celebrate sacraments at St. Alphonsus, please provide a letter of blessing from your priest.) This year we are asking for $50.00 to help cover the cost of materials and meals for the candidates, however no one will be denied a sacrament if the amount should pose a hardship on the family. A sacrament schedule can be found on line as well. Attendance at all sessions and rituals is obligatory as these dates are dedicated to the sacrament candidates. Preparation In preparing your child for these important Sacraments, the parish offers a number of sessions (called PREP). We are given an opportunity to gather as a parish community and together prepare our students for these beautiful Sacraments. Together, we will ensure that candidates are properly instructed on the meaning of the Sacraments they will be receiving and how they are to be celebrated. A team of volunteers from our parish has been assembled and prepared to assist in preparing students for their Sacraments. P.R.E.P. Sessions Parish Religious Education Program This is our parish-based catechetical program which helps students have an encounter with Jesus and learn about the sacraments they will be receiving. These sessions are interactive, informative and fun. Parents also participate in PREP. Why do this? Does it not all happen at school? At St. Alphonsus Parish we are dedicated to having something for everyone. This includes ensuring something for our young people. Our Catholic Schools are special places too. The Sacraments, however, are about a faith relationship found within the community of the Church, not membership in a school. At some point in their life, students graduate from their school; they may visit, but their school will not be the place they go back to for healing in a moment of crisis, for sacramental care in a time of joy, or for direction on occasion when they are called to grow and mature in life. When they graduate school - they leave to return as a visitor. A Parish, a faith community, is a place you never graduate from, and through the Sacrament one declares "I want to be a member of a community of faith - for life Through our community, the faithful, including our children, grow and become who God wants them to be!

4 Parental Support St. Alphonsus also offers resources to foster prayer time, family time, and opportunities for family activities based on gospel values. These resources will be made available throughout the year. Mass Attendance The Sunday Eucharist is at the very centre of the Catholic Christian. It is the heartbeat of the Christian life. The most important way you help your child prepare for any sacrament is to participate regularly with him or her in the Sunday Eucharist. The parish also gathers each weekday to pray. We welcome you to participate in any or all of the weekday liturgies, especially if you have been unable to join the community for Sunday Eucharist. (Mass times and the bulletin may be found on our website.) Parish Sessions Parish sessions are scheduled to pass on information and provide an opportunity for community gathering, and to answer any questions you may have. The initial parish session is for the parents only. Please note that no food or drink is permitted in the church. Rituals Rituals are scheduled to celebrate various aspects of building community, allow the faith family to get to know the candidates and affirm the candidates. Is Your Child Ready? It is not age alone that deems a child ready to celebrate Reconciliation and First Communion. The Catholic Church believes that it is about the age of seven that a child reaches the age of reason where they possess the moral reasoning ability to celebrate the sacraments with adequate understanding. However, every child is different and as a parent, you are the best person to judge your child s readiness. The following questions may help you in determining if your child is ready: Are they able to forgive others when they have been hurt? Have they experienced love and forgiveness in the family? Do they apologize not because of impending admonishment, but because they truly feel sorrow for their decision? Do they show positive signs of being an agent of reconciliation, helping heal rifts at home or between friends? Do they care about the feelings and needs of others? Do they understand the difference between loving and unloving choices? Do they want a closer relationship with God? Do they understand that Jesus is the Blessed Sacrament that you as a parent, receive at Communion? Do they understand that Jesus is present with us at Mass? Do they show a willingness to celebrate the sacrament?

5 Celebrating The Sacrament Of Reconciliation And First Holy Communion Candidates who complete the program may celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation on the scheduled dates, during regular Reconciliation times or by appointment. Parents are encouraged to come to Reconciliation consistently during the regularly scheduled times. First Communion will be celebrated in the spring on the dates outlined in the schedule. Candidates will be required to sign-up for their desired Mass time. If this is not possible due to illness, or family emergency, the candidate may celebrate First Communion at an agreed upon time. Information Required for Registration Copy of Baptism Certificate with full mailing address of the parish (no matter the language) If your child was baptized at St. Alphonsus Liguori, please provide the full and correct date. Invitation to the Alpha Experience Alpha is a series of interactive sessions that engages people in conversations about faith, life and Jesus. Every Alpha session includes food, a short talk (on video or live), and discussion. Alpha is highly recommended for those whose families are preparing to celebrate a sacrament. St. Alphonsus Liguori will be offering Alpha this Fall. We begin Alpha on Thursday, September 24th at 6:30PM in our Parish Hall (located behind the Church). Alpha is free and childcare is available. Checkout: for more information and to register. If we can be of any assistance to you, please do not hesitate to contact us here at the parish. I remain, Yours in Christ, Rev. Fr. Jerry Tavares Pastor

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