Sent: Saturday, June 01, 2013 10:05 AM
Subject: Sacramental Preparation for Children
Dear Colleagues in Ministry,
At the recent meeting of the Council of Priests and College of Consultors, we passed the following policy and guidelines for the preparation of our children for sacraments in general, and for the sacrament of first reconciliation in particular. As you will see, what we envision is the preparation for and celebration of First Reconciliation in grade two, and the preparation for a celebration of First Holy Communion in grade three.
Please bear in mind that it is the law of the Church that children celebrate first Reconciliation before first Communion.
By preparing for these sacraments and celebrating them in different years, I feel that we place a due and needed emphasis on each Sacrament, and that we highlight appropriately the celebration of Reconciliation, which we know has been given too little emphasis in recent decades. It is my hope that between their first Reconciliation and their First Holy Communion, that children will have received the sacrament of Reconciliation at least a couple of more times, most especially just prior to their First Communion.
I enjoin all pastors and catechists to do their utmost to dispel any fears about the Sacrament of Reconciliation for children. While honouring all guidelines relative to safe and secure environments, the “confessional box” is to be avoided in celebrating this sacrament with small children.
This policy is in effect. Please notify me if there are any difficulties in implementing it immediately.
Most Rev. Gerard Pettipas, C.Ss.R.