At St Andrew’s we believe that it is important for children of the Catholic faith to take part in the Sacraments of Reconciliation, Holy Communion and Confirmation.
The children have an excellent understanding of how taking part in these sacraments provide a greater relationship between themselves and God.
In Year 3 children receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. In preparation for this Sacrament, the children reflect on the fact that they are children of God and that this impacts on the way they treat others. Through studying Bible stories such as Zacchaeus the tax collector and parables like the Prodigal Son, the children learn about Jesus’ teachings on repentance and forgiveness. They learn to appreciate that God created humans with free will thus allowing them to decide to make good and bad choices. The children learn to think about the consequences of their actions and how this affects their relationship with God. The children learn the structure and sequence of the Rite of Reconciliation and are fully prepared to make their Reconciliation in Lent. We invite parents to participate in the Sacrament if they are able or at least to approach the priest for a blessing.
Opportunities for the Celebration of Reconciliation is offered to each Key Stage Two class during Advent and Lent.
Prayer of Sorrow
O my God, I thank you for loving me.
I am sorry for all my sins:
For not loving others and not loving you.
Help me to live like Jesus and not sin again.
FIRST HOLY COMMUNION
Once the children in Year 3 have made the Sacrament of Reconciliation, they receive the Sacrament of First Holy Communion. This usually takes place on a Saturday during May. The children work very hard at home, in school and in the parish to ensure that they are fully prepared to receive Jesus into their hearts.
The school works with the parish to help prepare children for this Sacrament. Parents are invited to meet with the priest, headteacher and the Year 3 teacher and are given the outline of the programme. They are invited to work with the school and parish in preparing their child, particularly ensuring that the children build up their relationship with Jesus by regular family prayer and attendance at weekly Mass. Other meetings are held throughout the year.
During Religious Education lessons in school, the children study the Last Supper when Jesus shared his last meal with the disciples. They look at the breaking of the bread and how this is like the celebration of the Mass. By examining the words of Jesus at the Last Supper and the priest at Mass, they learn to appreciate that we are present with Jesus every time we go to Mass.
The children study all the parts of the Mass in detail over the year but focus particularly on the Liturgy of the Eucharist leading up to the celebration of First Holy Communion. By exploring each of the parts of the Liturgy of the Eucharist in detail, the children learn that the Mass is a celebration of thanksgiving and that during the Eucharistic Prayer, the priest asks the Holy Spirit to change the gifts of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus.
The children are encouraged to read Bible stories together and discuss their Religious Education lessons. The children are given various tasks to complete at home linked to their First Holy Communion. The children have a retreat day before their Holy Communion. This is provided by ’One Life Music.’
Prayers linked to First Holy Communion
Prayer before Holy Communion
Lord Jesus, come to me.
Lord Jesus, give me your love.
Lord Jesus, come to me and give me yourself.
Prayer of thanksgiving after Holy Communion
O Sacrament most holy!
O Sacrament divine!
All praise and all thanksgiving
be every moment thine.
During their final year in school, the children prepare to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation; this is usually celebrated during June or July. The children prepare for the Sacrament at home, in class and in the parish.
During Religious Education lessons in school, the children study the Holy Spirit in detail. They look at the fruits and gifts of the Holy Spirit and think about how these will work in their future lives. The children study the events of Pentecost and think about how they will be like the disciples when the Holy Spirit comes down upon them. As Confirmation is a Sacrament of initiation, the children explore how Baptism and Confirmation are linked, focussing in particular at the signs and symbols used in both. As part of their work, children prepare a project on the saint of their choice. They are encouraged to select the name of a saint who has inspired them in some way. A sponsor is also chosen and has the role of supporting the child in their spiritual life. The pupils are helped to become witnesses of the Gospel and active members of the Church
The children also have the opportunity of taking part in spiritual retreat which enrich and deepen the understanding of their faith. This is provided by ’One Life Music.’
Alongside their lessons in school, the children attend Mass with their families and pray at home as a family. The children are encouraged to attend the Confirmation Preparation Masses that are held in our Church and to attend the sessions after Mass.
The day itself is a great celebration with children, parents, clergy, staff and members of the parish.
Prayers linked to Confirmation
Prayer to the Holy Spirit
Come, Holy Spirit,
fill the hearts of your faithful,
and kindle in them the fir of your love.
Send forth your Spirit,
and they shall be created,
and you will renew the face of the earth.
O God, who has taught the hearts of the faithful
by the light of the Holy Spirit,
grant that by the gift of the same Spirit
we may be always truly wise,
and ever rejoice in his consolation,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.