The Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist
Preparing the Year 3 children to receive the Sacraments of Reconciliation and First Holy Communion is the joint responsibility members of staff of our school community, Father Paul our parish priest and our parents.
Photographs of the children are displayed in church so that members of the parish know who they are praying for.
Although the children are prepared in Year 3, we build on the knowledge and understanding gained in the earlier years as well as the child’s faith from home.
The programme begins in September when the children participate in an Enrolment Mass. This enables the children and their families to make a clear symbol of commitment and dedication to the programme. The children receive a rosary as gift in the hope they will pray together with their family at home during this very special sacramental year.
The children participate in a series of themed workshops i.e. belonging, with their parent or guardian after school and in preparation of a celebration Mass held at Church. During these workshops, the children learn more about the particular topic being covered and prepare art or written work to be displayed in church or school.
There are also meetings for parents at school, where they are given the opportunity to explore and deepen their faith. Parents also have an opportunity to discuss how to support their children during the programme.
It is expected that all meetings, workshops and celebrations Masses are attended by parents/ children participating in the First Holy Communion programme, to ensure that there is a mutual and thorough understanding of the importance of this sacrament.
During Advent, the children receive the sacrament of Reconciliation. This is a special occasion where children are supported by both staff and parents. Those accompanying the children also take part in the service as well as having the opportunity to go to confession to a visiting priest.
In May, the children share a picnic together in preparation for the celebration of the Eucharist the following week. This picnic signifies the importance of when we share a meal together in Jesus’ name, each time we attend Mass.
On the actual First Holy Communion day, a great emphasis is placed on the child and their family receiving the sacrament together. The rest of the school and parish community support them by preparing and taking part in the mass.
Following the receiving of the Eucharist, the children are ready to present themselves to the parish and prepare and lead the Going Forth Mass. They partake in all parts of the liturgy. Afterwards they are given the opportunity to celebrate with their families, the school community and friends with a special First Holy Communion cake and photographs.
First Holy Communion 2021
First Holy Communion 2021
During their final year at St. Ambrose Barlow School, the children are prepared for and receive the Sacrament of Confirmation.
This begins with a meeting for parents with Father Paul and staff from school where they are given the opportunity to find out more about the sacrament itself and then to discuss the programme which their children will follow.
This is followed by a Mass of enrolment which is prepared and led by the children along with the parish community. This shows that both parents and confirmandi are committed to take on the responsibilities placed before them. Photographs of the children are displayed in church so that members of the parish know who they are praying for. Parents and confirmandi then participate in a Confirmation workshop, which takes place at school.
The children are prepared following a school based programme and have a weekly lesson with work to continue at home. The programme is based on the Curriculum Strategy used in the Archdiocese of Birmingham. 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.
During this time the children have the opportunity of a spiritual retreat which enriches and deepens the understanding of their faith.
At the end of February or the beginning of March, the children spend time with Father Paul and the Bishop ensuring that they are fully prepared and ready to receive the sacrament. The evening itself is a great celebration with children, parents, clergy, staff and members of the parish.