About the Program
Children in 2nd grade or older may begin to prepare to receive First Reconciliation and First Communion.
Families seeking these life-giving Sacraments for their children gather to begin this program together. We start preparation for each sacrament by gathering for a lesson for both parents and children, then parents use RCL Benziger’s Sacraments books to teach weekly lessons at home, and we end with a rehearsal and celebration of the Sacrament. Preparation for First Reconciliation will begin in the fall and end in the winter. Preparation for First Eucharist will begin immediately following the reception of First Reconciliation, and will be celebrated throughout the Easter season.
- Children must be age 7 or older (grade 2) to enroll
- Children must be enrolled and active in a Faith Formation program in the current year
- Children must have been enrolled and active in a Faith Formation program last year
- Weekly Mass attendance
- Attendance at introductory class for each sacrament for parents and children at St. Patrick’s Church
- 6-7 weekly classes taught at home for each sacrament
- Attendance at rehearsal at St. Patrick’s Church for each sacrament
- Interview with Fr. Laird to determine readiness to receive each sacrament
Frequently Asked Questions
Is sacramental preparation a part of the regular Faith Formation program?
No, each program is distinct from the other. Sacramental preparation and Faith Formation each have their own, separate registration forms and their own, separate classes. But children must be attending Faith Formation classes in order to begin sacramental preparation. For more information on how the two programs operate together, please contact the parish office.
When exactly will the program begin?
The exact timing of the program changes every year based on when Easter is observed. We schedule the beginning of program so that your child can come to understand and appreciate the gift of God’s love through these sacraments in a clear and unhurried manner before the start of the Easter season. As soon as the schedule is available, it will be posted to our Forms and Calendars page here under the current school year. You can look at the schedule under the previous school year for a more detailed example of our program.
When exactly will my child receive the sacraments?
Reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation will be scheduled during the late fall or early winter. Families will come together for a group penance service including individual confession. Children will receive First Communion during the Easter season. Families will schedule a regular Sunday Mass within the seven weeks following Easter for their child to receive the Eucharist for the first time. As soon as the schedule is available, it will be posted to our Forms and Calendars page here under the current school year.
Why does my child have to be in 2nd grade to begin?
The Church defines age 7 as the age of reason, when children have a solid understanding of right and wrong and can be considered morally responsible. In order to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation, a child must be able to understand the difference between a sin (a free choice to do wrong) and an accident. In order to receive the Eucharist, a child must first be in a state of grace made possible through receiving God’s grace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. So we begin with the Sacrament of Reconciliation at age 7.
My child is past 2nd grade, but needs to receive these sacraments. What do we do?
This sacramental preparation program is appropriate for any children in grades 2-6. Different books are used for children in primary grades (2-3) and intermediate grades (4-6) to ensure age-appropriate content. If your child is in 7th grade or higher, you should contact the catechetical leader at the parish office, and we will work with you to make sure your child receives appropriate catechesis that suits your family’s needs.
Why does my child have to be involved in Faith Formation before beginning sacramental prep?
Your child deserves the chance to find deep meaning in these sacraments, two sacred ways we receive God’s grace in our lives. A solid grounding in the faith is necessary to help your child grow in love of God so they can appreciate the gift of Reconciliation and the Eucharist.
My child has special needs. Is this program appropriate?
Every Catholic has a right to receive the sacraments, and the right to catechisis appropriate to their unique abilities and understanding. We will work closely with you to ensure we meet your child’s needs.