Dates to include on your calendar:
All preparation sessions at church begin promptly at 9am or 11am. Each session is 75-90 minutes in length and include groups for both children and parents.
First Reconciliation Prep Sessions in 2019
Dec 7 – at the church 10am – 12pm or 2pm to 4pm
First Communion Prep Sessions in 2020
Jun 6 and 7, 13 and 14, 20 and 21
at all weekend Masses
Online Registration has now closed.
Please contact the office for more information.
It is with great joy that St. Joseph Church welcomes children in grades two or above to the process of preparing to receive the Sacraments of First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion. These Sacraments mark two very important steps a child’s faith journey. The Sacrament of Reconciliation gives us the opportunity to experience the great love and mercy of God by assuring us of the forgiveness of Jesus. In Holy Communion, Jesus Himself comes to us. He is present body, blood, soul and divinity under the appearance of bread and wine – what a mystery! In this great Sacrament we experience union with God and with our brothers and sisters more closely than anywhere else on earth. Our prayer and hope is that, through this preparation process, this time in your family’s and child’s life will not simply be a ritual but a period of true faith growth.
To preparing your child for these important Sacraments, the parish, family and Catholic school work together to pass on the faith. At school, children learn much of the background and foundation of these Sacraments; at home, the family show children how these Sacraments are lived out daily and at the church clergy and catechists work together to ensure that candidates are properly instructed on the meaning and significance of the Sacraments they will be receiving and how they are celebrated.
Families living within the boundaries of, and registered and worshiping at, St. Joseph Church in Bowmanville are welcome to enroll their children for the Sacrament here.
Families will also be asked to provide a copy their child’s baptismal certificate. Certificates can be obtained from the parish where he/she was baptized. These can then be dropped off to the office at St. Joseph Church, emailed to email@example.com or brought to the second session. Those baptized at St. Joseph Church do not need to provide a copy of their certificate.
Ordinarily, a candidate for any Sacrament should receive this Sacrament in his or her own parish, usually the closest parish to where they live or the parish where they regularly worship. For a serious reason, a candidate, with the permission of their parish pastor, may receive these Sacraments in another parish. If a child from a parish other than St. Joseph Church in Bowmanville wishes to receive the Sacraments of First Reconciliation or their First Holy Communion at St. Joseph Church in Bowmanville, we ask him or her to obtain a letter of blessing and permission from the parish pastor.
Children preparing to make their First Reconciliation or First Communion are asked to attend several Preparation sessions as well as a retreat at St. Joseph Church; these sessions are expected to be up to ninety minutes in length. Attendance and participation at these sessions is mandatory and assures that children are fully prepared and recognize these moments as serious steps in their faith journey. To equip parents to bring the material taught at the church and school into the home, parents are also asked to be present at parent sessions which run at the same time as the children’s sessions.
Understanding that families have many commitments or other circumstances that might prevent them from attending these sessions, we are very willing to make alternative arrangements to ensure that every child is prepared and ready to receive these Sacraments. Please review the dates for the sessions and mark your calendar. Families who are unable to attend these sessions should contact the church as soon as possible so that alternate arrangements can be made. Like you, we too wish for your child to receive these Sacraments and are willing to walk with you through any obstacles that may arise.
The Sacraments are about a faith relationship found within the community of the Church, not membership in a school. Eventually, students graduate from their school; they may visit, but their school will not be the place they go back to for healing in a moment of crisis, for sacramental care in a time of sorrow or joy, or for direction when they are called to grow and mature in life. A parish, a faith community, is a family one never graduates from, and through the Sacraments one declares, “I want to be a member of a community of faith for life”. Through our community, the faithful, including our children, grow and become who God wants them to be!
At baptism, parents promise to raise their children in the practice of the faith. Through the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Communion, candidates are strengthened in their Christian commitment and begin the process of taking personal responsibility for their faith. In order to encourage this, candidates and their families are strongly encouraged to attend Mass regularly. This is, indeed, a grace filled time for candidates and family members alike. The best spiritual preparation for the candidates and the best example by the parents involves faithful Catholic practice.
The Sunday Eucharist is at the very centre, the “heartbeat”, of the Catholic Christian; it is, after all, what receiving the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Communion are all about. Every aspect of our Catholic life, everything else we do, is rooted in our celebration of the Sunday Mass and without it our Christian lives are incomplete. It is important that our actions match our inner thoughts, so, candidates looking to receive these two Sacraments who also intend to not enter a church again for some time afterwards should question whether or not this is the appropriate time in their lives to receive these Sacraments. The most consequential way parents can help their children prepare for any sacrament is to participate regularly with him/her in the Sunday Eucharist (every week). At St. Joseph Church in Bowmanville, your family are invited and welcome to join any our Sunday Masses designed to fit any busy schedule:
Saturday, 4:30pm; Sunday, 9:00am; Sunday, 11:00am and Sunday, 7:00pm
May God bless you as you continue on your journey of faith. Of course, if our parish can be of any assistance or answer any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. The entire parish community shares your excitement as you prepare for these beautiful Sacraments!
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