Sacraments for Young Children
St Edmund's Parish has a strong commitment to teaching children their faith, helping them to know Jesus as a friend and coming to meet him in the sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Communion. Our preparation programme for sharing these sacraments for the first time is a very important part of our parish life. The programme is very much a family centred programme, it is not just the child who is preparing, everyone in the family is involved in sharing these wonderful gifts from God. Families who wish one of their children to prepare for Reconciliation and Holy Communion must be willing to be committed to prayer, to attending Mass on a Sunday to attending children's and parents' sessions.
Usually it is children in Year 3 at school, or above, who would be thinking about sharing the sacraments, the programme is well geared to them and they usually enjoy it and grow in faith during this time. Parents are also involved in this and must take a lead role, the Church recognises that it is parents' responsibility to pass on their faith to their children and train them in the practice of the faith. If parents are not committed to their faith or to preparation, it is important for them to think about whether it is right to go ahead, this is not simply a box that must be ticked as your child grows up, this is a sacred duty before God, and if you do not think that, perhaps you and your family are not ready to share the sacraments. This is time to be honest with yourself and your child about your faith, or perhaps your lack of it.
Our preparation programme is a parish programme, but we are also lucky enough to benefit from the services of a very good Catholic School. However, it is not the role of the school to prepare children for the sacraments, so the classes are outside of school time, usually after school and also on Saturday mornings. The programme begins soon after Christmas and is advertised in the parish bulletin from early November. Parents are expected to attend monthly sessions to help them deepen their faith and share it with their children.
Information about these sacraments is given through St Edmund's School, but it is a parish programme and children from other schools are most welcome to join and information is readily available in the parish bulletin and the parish office.