Best Practices for Adults Involved in Sacramental Preparation of Children
Handing on the Good News of Jesus Christ to children and youth invites a life-giving response of faith, hope and love from all the adults involved in sacramental preparation. Foundational aspects for the celebration of the sacraments of Baptism, First Reconciliation, First Eucharist and Confirmation in the Archdiocese of Grouard-McLennan include both initial and immediate preparation through best practices.
Best Practices for Families in the Initial Preparation
Faith is best passed on from adult to child through:
- Participation in the Sunday Eucharist
- Prayer in the family
- Example and lived experience of parents and
- other prime caregivers to their belief in Jesus.
- Daily living a Catholic way of life appropriate to one’s age and spiritual development.
- Religious instructional support from a Catholic School or home schooling program.
Best Practices for Priests in the Initial and Immediate Preparation
Sharing in the triple mandate of the bishop to sanctify, to teach and to govern, a priest:
- Calls forth catechists by identifying gifts and skills for catechesis in parishioners.
- Invites catechists to be part of catechetical teams and collaborate with him in sacramental preparation.
- Makes sure that catechists and he actively participate in ongoing formation sessions.
- Meets with parish catechetical and/or school teams in May or June of the preceding school year to plan dates for next year’s celebrations of the sacraments.
- Ensures proper registration of candidates for the sacramental preparation in his parish; provides sufficient time for parents to obtain a valid certificate of Baptism in the Catholic Church before the celebration of First Eucharist and Confirmation.
- Is directly involved in providing suitable catechesis for parents and children; this includes meetings with parents only and with parents and children together.
- Seeks out ways of coming to know the families of the children preparing to receive a sacrament. e.g. meeting with a family after Mass or a family inviting the priest to their home.
- Fosters and welcomes participation in school and classroom faith formation activities throughout the school year, especially those focused on the sacraments.
- Encourages and supports parents in the faith formation of their child.
Best Practices for Parent Involvement in the Immediate Preparation
Parents fulfill their rights and duties for their children’s spiritual formation by:
- Presenting their child to the faith community at the enrolment ceremony.
- Learning more about the sacrament their child is receiving.
- Becoming familiar with the preparation process by attending the parent informational meeting.
- Taking an active part in the preparation sessions for parents and children.
- Discussing and completing with their children the assigned pages in the program booklets.
Best Practices for Parish Involvement in the Immediate Preparation
Sacramental preparation needs to engage the whole parish community. The community of believer’s best supports and nurtures the faith life of the parents and children by:
- Inviting participation in sacramental preparation through announcements in parish and school newsletters, bulletins and websites.
- Welcoming all those who respond when parents present their children to the faith community at the enrolment ceremony at the Sunday Eucharist.
- Praying for the families as they journey toward the celebration of the sacrament.
- Providing support to parents in their role as the first educators in the faith life of their children.
- Inviting families involved in sacramental preparation to take part in the ministries at the Sunday Liturgy. E.g. Greeters, gift bearers, readers, take up the collection, give out bulletins and music ministry.
- Helping with hospitality aspects at the retreat days, parent meetings and celebrations.