Do This in Memory. A Parish Preparation Programme for First Eucharist

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1 Do This in Memory A Parish Preparation Programme for First Eucharist

2 We Pray Together Loving God, We call to mind the children who will prepare for First Eucharist during the coming year and all who care for them. We ask your blessing on all of them and on all of us gathered here. May we always walk as children of the light and be prepared to share that light with those whom we meet.

3 Purpose of Programme The programme is designed to facilitate the active involvement of parents, guardians and the wider parish community in the preparation for First Eucharist.

4 Four Cornerstones The sacramental preparation of children is the responsibility of the home, school and parish working together in partnership. The work of sacramental preparation begins long before the First Eucharist celebration.

5 The celebration of First Eucharist is a sacred and important moment on a long journey of faith development. Together with Baptism and Confirmation it opens the door to full membership of the Christian community. It is not an end in itself. The sacramental preparation of our children must always be seen as one element of the broader task of whole-community catechesis.

6 The home should be the first church which children should know, and in which they are reminded of God and helped to pray by what they see around them. Religion begins at home. Parents are the first religion teachers and the most important of all teachers of religion. (Handing on the Faith in the Home (1980), Number 4) Our experience tells us that the faith of children is best nourished when home, school and parish work together in partnership. Firstly and most importantly, children learn about faith in the home. Their faith is supported in school by the hard work of teachers and chaplains, and by both priests and people in the wider parish community. (Nurturing our Children s Faith, 2006)

7 Outline of Programme 8 Sundays Holy Thursday

8 First Sunday Enrolment Sunday Parents, guardians and children may be presented to the community invited to promise to participate in the programme asked to renew their baptismal promises with the parish community presented with a candle for use in family prayer

9 Guidelines for Eucharistic Celebration Each Sunday of the programme Sacred Space reflects the theme of the programme Candles The children may be invited to the ambo to listen to the Gospel Homily guidelines are given Prayer of the Faithful suggestions are offered Presentation of the Gifts Blessing of children at Communion time Post-Communion reflection Music suggestions

10 Guidelines for Eucharistic Celebration On some Sundays of the programme Invitation to children to come and stand around the altar for the Eucharistic Prayer Invitation to lead the Our Father Dismissal Rite and Procession

11 Newsletter for Parents/Kid s Stuff Each month the parents/guardians will receive a copy of Grapevine. The Newsletter will follow the same format each time: Thought for the Month Prayer Family Prayer Space Saints and Holy Days Reflection for Parents/Guardians Gospel Reading for following month Mass Response Things to Remember Activities for the children

12 Each parish will need A group of parents/guardians who will meet once a month to plan for the next Sunday of the programme. The agenda for this meeting each month can be taken from the page in the Coordinator s Manual, entitled Things to Remember.

13 Work of the Coordinating Group Maintain ongoing contact with parents and guardians, including inviting them to participate in the Mass by reading the Prayer of the Faithful, Communion Reflections and Presentation of the Gifts. Maintain the Sacred Space in the church. Prepare the Prayer of the Faithful for each Sunday. Usher children to and from ambo, homily space, altar. Distribute the Grapevine at the end of Mass each month. Meet with celebrant to discuss the homily. Liaise with choir/school. Be involved with planning for First Eucharist celebration.

14 Parental Commitment To be at Mass with your child each Sunday of the programme. To pray with your child at home. To read the Newsletter and try out some of the suggestions. To talk to your child about the programme. To reflect seriously about the celebration of this sacrament with your child.

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