Programme For First Holy Communion In Holy Family Parish 2016 -2017
Five years ago, a new preparation programme from the Bishop was launched in all Parishes and Catholic Schools. Generally speaking this is a more demanding programme and as Parish Priest, I have observed how our children in Year 3 have worked with this.
I have discerned that children would probably benefit more if they engaged with this programme if they were a year older. This has been done in some of our neighbouring Parishes feeding into St Bede’s School and it has been noticed that there is a better understanding and involvement with the topics when children are a year older. There is also a better appreciation when coming to celebrate both sacraments.
I have spoken with our main Parish Catechist, as well as Teachers who teach the RE curriculum and proposed that Holy Family Parish do the same and move the preparation and celebration of the sacraments one year later. In practice, it will mean that children and families in Year 3 focus on increasing their frequency with coming to church and experiencing as a family together the celebration of Mass. This would be good preparation in Year 4 when children will have necessary experience into which their parish preparation sessions and school RE have traction. Catholic Faith is caught from family life and worship as well as taught from Church and School. Without the former, children have no base to make connections and little chance to develop their faith practice. Not surprisingly we see very few children after their First Holy Communion which is a cause for concern and sadness in the Parish. More Parishes and Schools in the Diocese have made this change and found some improvement in children’s engagement.
I therefore propose and plan, with your support, that we switch over this academic year so that those children ready (and supported by their parents coming to Church) will start in September 2017 when they start in Year 4.
Fr David Russell