Spiritual development is at the very heart of faith formation, for both children and teens, flowing from the mission of the Catholic Church commissioned by Jesus to “Go therefore, and make disciples of all the nations (Matthew 28:19).”
“Let Us Go Forth and Open Doors.” -Pope Francis
Why Going to Mass Matters
Perhaps each year in preparing for Thanksgiving, you may find yourself the Wednesday evening before enduring a congested grocery store and packed traffic jams just to get home for the holiday. We find ourselves a part of the rush because our presence matters to our family and friends. It defines that we love them when we are present for not only Thanksgiving but other important gatherings too.
As a Church, the Mass marks our important family gathering as members of the faithful community. Every Sunday becomes a Thanksgiving meal as we celebrate the Eucharist. The Greek origin of Eucharist means “to give thanks.” Together in Christ, we are nourished by God’s Word, strengthened by the Body and Blood of Jesus and united in the Spirit to love and serve as the Lord’s people.
With that in mind, note the importance and significance of attending Mass, as well as all that encompasses sacramental preparations including parent meetings and special gatherings for you and the life of your family. At the celebration of Baptism, mothers and fathers are reminded that they have been called as their child’s first teacher, shaping them towards a positive Christian identity.
Our lives are busy as parents because we desire our children to be fully enriched through the participation of sports, learning an instrument, dance lessons, etc. Yet, identifying Church as the central priority in your family is a nurturing gift that will be transformative both now and in the future.
Sacrament of Reconciliation for Youth
The Sacrament of Reconciliation, one of the two Sacraments of Healing, is an encounter with Jesus that forgives sins and restores us to grace. For baptized children in second grade and beyond, preparations for First Reconciliation begins in the late fall and is celebrated during the beautiful season of Advent. Our parish community is pleased to share with you this special time in your child’s life and in the life of your family.
Initial preparation for this sacrament begins with a gathering of parents and children, uncovering the sacredness of ritual. In addition, during our time together, we consider the importance of forgiveness in our own lives and discuss ways to help children in their developing relationships with God and with other people. We also give important information about our parish sacramental program and discuss ways that you can make this time of preparation a special one for your family. For additional information, please contact the Director of Religious Education, Mrs. Laurie Huff by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
or by phone, 513-661-2000.
Jesus Christ is truly present in our midst. For Catholics, the Eucharist, or Holy Communion, one of the three Sacraments of Initiation is the most profound way we encounter the real presence of Jesus Christ. The Eucharist is holy, a sacred celebration that brings us into close contact with the holiness of God. In the Eucharist the holiness of God is present to us in a unique way. We are made holy by the very act of participating in the Eucharist.
Thorough preparation of this sacred event is defined by opportunities for parents and baptized children in the second grade and beyond. The initial parent-child session held in late winter begins with a focus on everyday symbols and images in our lives, connecting our personal stories to our faith story. We also consider that in the Eucharist, Jesus gives us the greatest gift we could ever receive-himself! It is our hope that our time together will help you receive this gift with great faith, joy and love.
Next, All First Communicants and their families attend 9:30am Mass together during the Lenten Season, leading up to the celebration of First Eucharist. Doing so fosters a communal presence, assists our children in developing deeper meaning and understanding of the Mass, and facilitates bringing parents closer to their children-forming awareness of the presence of God in their lives.
In addition, St. Martin of Tours School children receive their catechesis and formation for First Eucharist in the context of the classroom. Parish School of Religion Youth prepare on six consecutive Sunday sessions with the Director of Religious Education, Mrs. Laurie Huff beginning in the early spring.
Finally, parents and children attend “Jesus Day”-a special retreat prior to the celebration that includes rehearsal, a luncheon and a presentation by Tom Sparough-The Space Painter. The family pew is decorated on the designated day of First Eucharist with a banner in which the communicant and their loved ones create together, connecting life to faith and faith to life.
Sacrament of Confirmation
The Holy Spirit is alive in the Church today. In the Sacrament of Confirmation, one of the three Sacraments of Initiation, Catholics are sealed with the Holy Spirit. Receiving the Sacrament of Confirmation, the Christian’s relationship with God is made stronger. The Gifts of the Holy Spirit are strengthened: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. In this way the Christian is equipped to become a better witness to Christ in the world.
Sixth and seventh graders who have been baptized and received their First Holy Communion have begun preparing for the celebration of Confirmation which is scheduled for late April, 2015. It is indeed a special time in your child’s life and in the life of your family. Our parish community is pleased to share with you this time of preparation for the completion of Christian Initiation.
Our parish formation process provides opportunities for both parents and students to deepen their understanding of the gift of God’s love and presence in the sacraments. It is designed to help you grow in your own understanding and appreciation of the Sacrament of Confirmation. In particular, to consider the connections between the three Sacraments of Initiation: Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist. We also give important information about our parish formation process, including the role of service and discuss ways your family can make this time of preparation a special one
To learn more, please e-mail the Director of Religious Education, Laurie Huff at email@example.com or call the Parish Office, 661-2000. We look forward to sharing this special time of preparation with you and your candidate.