Parent Handbook First Reconciliation and First Communion

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1 Parent Handbook First Reconciliation and First Communion St. Luke the Evangelist Church 7575 Holliday Drive E. Indianapolis IN Tel

2 2 Table of Contents The Symbolism of the Pelican...3 Grade 2 Jesus our Life and calendar Notes and Questions for Parents Basic Prayers...9 Notes 10

3 3 THE SYMBOLISM OF THE PELICAN The mother pelican feeding her baby pelicans depicted on the front cover of this handbook is rooted in an ancient legend that existed before Christianity. The legend says that in times of famine, the mother pelican struck her breast repeatedly with her own beak until she bled. She would then feed her young with her own blood to prevent them from starving. In another version of the legend, the mother pelican fed her dying baby pelicans with her own blood to keep them alive, but she would lose her own life in the process. With this rich symbolism, it is no wonder that the early Christians adapted it to represent or symbolize Jesus Christ, our Lord. The pelican symbolizes that Jesus, our Savior and Redeemer, gave His life to save us from sin and death. The new life we possess comes through His death on the cross and the pouring out of His Precious Blood. As you prepare your child for First Penance and First Communion, you may want to teach your child about the legend of the pelican. It should serve as a reminder that Jesus suffered and died for us so that we may gain eternal life. In a totally selfless act of love, our Lord accepted an agonizing death for each and every one of us. The Eucharist, of course, is connected to Christ s sacrifice on the cross. It is not merely an image of Christ s sacrifice on the cross; it truly is Christ s sacrifice! The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us that the same Christ Who offered Himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and offered in an unbloody manner on the altar in the Mass (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 1367). Jesus speaks in the silence of the mystery of the Eucharist and reminds us each time that following him means going out of ourselves and making our lives not something we possess, but a gift to him and to others. From Pope Francis Homily on the Feast of Corpus Christi 2013

4 4 CATECHETICAL PROGRAM FOR GRADE TWO Sacramental Preparation for First Reconciliation and First Eucharist THEME: Preparation for the first reception of the sacraments of Penance and Holy Communion, with the law of God and salvation history as background. The lessons emphasize God's mercy and love. Covers Creation, the Covenant with Moses, the Ten Commandments, Redemption, Forgiveness of Sins, and the Mass. SEQUENCE: Ch. 1-16: God teaches us through His law; we obey through love. Ch : We find forgiveness of sins through Jesus' sacrifice. Ch : We prepare for life in Heaven by reception of Jesus in the Eucharist and our life in the Church. *SMRE children will not cover all the lessons in the grade 2 textbook. AIM: To prepare second-grade students for the sacraments of Confession and Holy Communion, and to help them appreciate God's love for them shown in these two sacraments. Students will learn how to receive the Sacrament of Confession, the order of the Mass, and the basics of prayer. The Law of God and Salvation History The chapters listed below prepare the children for First Reconciliation and First Eucharist. The catechists in the parish religion program and teachers at St. Luke School will teach the material in these chapters and provide additional information as needed in the classrooms. First Reconciliation... First Eucharist Ch. 3 God the Creator... Ch. 22 The Last Supper Ch. 4 God Made Us... Ch. 25 The Holy Mass Ch. 5 God is Offended... Ch. 26 What We Do At Mass Ch. 6 Becoming a Child of God... Ch. 27 Jesus Comes to Us Ch. 8 God Gives Us His Laws... Ch. 28 Jesus, My Lord and God Ch. 9 I Choose to Love God... Ch. 33 Jesus is Always Present Ch. 17 Asking Forgiveness Ch. 19 The Sacrament of Penance Ch. 20 Making Up for Our Offenses

5 FIRST PENANCE AND FIRST HOLY COMMUNION MARK YOUR CALENDARS FOR IMPORTANT DATES IN N.B. Registration forms for the sacraments from St. Luke School Parents are due no later than September 6. SMRE parents submit all registration forms by the first day of religion classes on August 14. October 9 Parent meeting on the guidelines for First Reconciliation on Sunday, October 9 in the Parish Hall from 10:45-11:20 a.m. Parents only. November 3 Theology of Reconciliation on Thursday, November 3, from 7 to 8:00 p.m. in the Parish Hall for parents only. December 17 First Reconciliation. Children go to confession for the first time on Saturday, December 17. We start with a Penance Service. Arrive at Church no later than 10:50 a.m. with your child. January 22 Parent meeting on the guidelines for First Holy Communion on Sunday, January 22 in the Parish Hall from 10:45-11:20 a.m. Parents only. February 16 Theology of the Eucharist from on Thursday, February 16, from 7 to 8:00 p.m. in the Parish Hall for parents only. March 4 First Holy Communion Retreat for children and parent(s) from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Parent(s) and child gather in the church no later than 8:45 a.m. April 20 First Holy Communion Practices Thursday, April 20 at 6:15 p.m. and 7:15 p.m. Parent(s) and child meet in church. April 22 First Communions will be celebrated on Saturday, April 22 at the 10:00 a.m. Mass and the 1 p.m. Mass.

6 6 Notes and Questions Concerning Sacramental Preparation The First Penance and First Eucharist text and activity books that are used in the sacrament program is Jesus Our Life, Book Two in the Faith and Life Series. Faith and Life is published by Ignatius Press. The USCCB (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops) has listed Faith and Life among the catechetical books and series that are in conformity with the Catechism of the Catholic Church. The Role of the Parents Parents are the most important adult Catholics in the life of their child. At baptism you promised God that you would raise your son or daughter in the Catholic faith. Concretely, this means that you will provide the necessary religious education for your child in the faith. It also means that you will show your child that faith in God is something real and practical and part of everyday life. The expectation is that you will bring your son or daughter to Mass every Sunday and holy day of obligation. Through this special sacramental program, we are emphasizing your role as teachers of the faith. At the same time, the parish catechists and staff St. Luke the Evangelist School will assist you in your role as the primary educator of your child. Prayers The children preparing for First Penance and First Eucharist should memorize the following prayers: Sign of the Cross Glory Be Our Father Act of Contrition Hail Mary *It is recommended that you pray night with your children before they go to bed. A good practice to begin with your child is to pray The Act of Contrition together. All the basic prayers may be found on page 8 in the booklet. Additional prayers are included if you wish to introduce them to your child. Baptismal Certificates We are required by the Church to obtain the Baptismal information before a child is allowed to receive the sacraments of Penance and Communion. Please obtain a copy of your child s baptism certificate from the church in which he or she was baptized. If your child was baptized at St. Luke the Evangelist Parish, you need only provide us with the date of Baptism. All copies of Baptism certificates are due no later than October 12.

7 7 Copies of Baptism certificates should be enclosed in an envelope with your child s name on the front. Indicate that your child is in the First Penance and Communion Program. You may drop off the envelope at the parish office. Program Fee The tuition fee for the program to prepare children for the sacraments in the SMRE program is $85. This fee covers the cost of the student textbook, workbook and other materials needed in the program. Please check the religious education website for online donations. St. Luke School covers the cost of materials used for sacramental preparation. No additional fees are required for St. Luke School parents. However, the registration form needs to be submitted with the baptismal information! Common Questions Related to the Sacraments Why do young children need to be prepared for First Penance before First Eucharist? It is the practice or the norm throughout the Church that children, before they receive their First Eucharist, first receive the Sacrament of Penance or Reconciliation. The Church teaches that children must go to the sacrament of Penance before receiving Holy Communion for the first time (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 1457); and, It is primarily the duty of parents, as well as the duty of pastors, to take care that the children who have reached the use of reason are prepared properly and, after they have a sacramental confession, are refreshed with this divine food (Canon 914). What is the age of reason and how is this related to the sacraments? Children are prepared for Penance and Communion when they have reached the age of reason. Infants and small children lack sufficient maturity to distinguish between right and wrong and therefore are not considered responsible for their actions. With the completion of the seventh year, a minor is presumed to have the use of reason (Canon 97.2). Of course, this age is not exact. Some may arrive at this age earlier, others later or not at all, depending on intelligence and other critical factors. Children who have reached the age of reason are able to think abstractly and apply general principles to specific life situations. Children who have reached the age of reason know the difference between good and evil. What is required in order to register a child for First Penance and Communion? Children at St. Luke Catholic School receive religious instructions on a daily basis. They even go to Mass twice a week with their school companions. Their formation is formidable in the faith!

8 8 It is highly recommended that children unable to receive a Catholic education at St. Luke School be registered for parish religious education classes as early as possible. Our SMRE program begins with preschool and goes through high school. Preschool, kindergarten and first grade SMRE classes are scheduled on Sunday mornings. By attending these classes, the second grade child will be much better prepared to begin sacramental preparation. Are there exceptions to the above rule for children in public and private non-catholic schools? Yes. If a child has not attended SMRE in preschool, kindergarten or first grade, exceptions may be made if the child demonstrates adequate knowledge of the faith for a child his or her age. Tell Me About Confession Why do I have to confess my sins to man or priest? The most common objection to confession, especially on the part of Protestants although sometimes by Catholics, is: I don t need to confess my sins to a priest or any other human being! I can confess my sins directly to God. The reality is that Jesus commissioned his Apostles to forgive sins. Jesus asked believers to approach God for forgiveness through the apostles Who He commissioned and empowered. Jesus said to Peter, Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven (Mt 16:19). Following the Resurrection, Jesus breathed on His disciples and said, Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them and whose sins you retain are retained. (Jn 20:22,23). Priests only carry out this apostolic role (Canon 965; Catechism of the Catholic Church, No & 1462). How is confession in the Catholic Church consistent with our Jewish heritage? In the Jewish faith, when it came to atonement for sins, God instructed Moses to have the people bring a holocaust to the Temple. The lamb that was presented was male and unblemished. Laying their hands on the head of the lamb or another sacrificial animal, sinners symbolically transferred their sins to it. The sacrificial animal was then ritually slaughtered and died in place of the sinners. The sinners gave the animal to the priest who offered it on the altar (Lev 1:1-5). The Jewish priest served as a mediator between God and the sinful people. Do Catholic sacraments mediate in a similar fashion? The answer is absolutely! The sacraments of Penance and Eucharist are mediated to us. In other words, the priest is the mediator, the link between God and His people. It is the priest who represents the merciful Lord in the confessional. When the penitent confesses his or her sins to the priest, the penitent speaks to Christ, but it is Christ Who responds through the priest. When the priest says, I absolve you from your sins, it is Christ Who absolves the person from sin (Mk 2:10).

9 With regard to the Eucharist, it is the priest who acts in persona Christi, in the person of Christ. At the Mass, when the priest says the words of consecration, the resurrected Christ descends to the altar and becomes hidden under the appearance of bread and wine. His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity are made present. The faithful are then fed on this divine food come down from heaven 9 BASIC PRAYERS Sign of the Cross In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Our Father Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy Will be done, on earth, as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen. Hail Mary Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen. Glory Be Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Prayer to My Guardian Angel Angel of God, my guardian dear, to whom His love commits me here, ever this night be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen. Act of Contrition My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, I have sinned against you whom I should love above all things. I firmly intend, with your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin. Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. In His Name, my God, have mercy. Amen.

10 10 N O T E S

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