For many years now, St Joseph’s Parish has been involved in the Archdiocesan initiative of parish catechesis (We call it our “Circle of Friends”). This is for the children of the parish who are preparing to receive the Sacraments of Initiation i.e. Holy Communion and Confirmation, as well as the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
The preparation of our children and young people for these sacraments is an important time in the life of every parish. It presents a special opportunity for developing the young person’s relationship with God, with each other, with the Church and with society as a whole. Equally, it offers an opportunity for our parish to be a real sign of Christian Love within the community in Cumbernauld.
Each parish in the Archdiocese of Glasgow is responsible for developing and implementing a preparation process for those children in primary school to receive the Sacraments, which we do, along with our 2 primary schools (St Margaret’s and St Mary’s) and their families at home.
The parish is also responsible for giving all its members an opportunity to be involved in the preparation process, particularly spiritual support by praying for our young people. Any adult parishioner (particularly young adults) who has received the sacraments of initiation and would like to share what it means to be a Catholic Christian with the children would be welcome to join us.
Our “Circle of Friends” meets on the Saturday morning usually the week just before each Sacrament in the church hall, the session last for about 2 hours. The atmosphere is relaxed and enjoyable with activities which encourage the children to reflect and think about the Sacrament for which they are preparing.
Parents, we would ask you to encourage your child who is preparing for the Sacraments to join our Circle of Friends.
Sacraments of Initiation
Baptism. Infant baptism has been a tradition of the Church from the earliest times. It is linked strongly to the faith of the parents, who, during the baptismal ceremony name faith for their child as what they are seeking. It’s Baptism, the first of the sacraments of initiation, that makes us Christian. Baptism is the basis of the whole Christian life, the gateway to life in the Spirit, and the door which gives access to the other sacraments. Through Baptism we are freed from sin and reborn as children of God; we become one in union with Christ, we are incorporated into the Church.
Holy Communion. The word ‘communion’ means to be united with. Catholics believe that in holy communion they are united in a special way with Jesus Christ, that they are sharing in the body and blood of Christ. Holy Communion, and the whole service (Mass) is also known as Eucharist, from a Greek word meaning thanksgiving. The Sacrament of the Eucharist or “First Holy Communion” is the colloquial name for a person’s first celebration of the sacrament of the Eucharist. The celebration of First Eucharist is a sacred and important moment on a child’s Journey of Faith. Together with Baptism and Confirmation, it opens the door to full membership of the Christian community. Most Catholic children receive their First Communion when they’re seven or eight years of age because this is considered the age of reason.
Confirmation. During Confirmation, the focus is on the Holy Spirit, who confirmed the apostles on Pentecost and gave them the courage to practice their faith. Catholics believe that the same Holy Spirit confirms Catholics during the Sacrament of Confirmation and gives them the same gifts. The third sacrament of initiation, establishes young adults as full-fledged members of the faith. This sacrament is called Confirmation because the faith given in Baptism is now confirmed and made strong. During Baptism, parents and godparents make promises to renounce Satan and believe in God and the Church on their child’s behalf. At Confirmation, the young adult is given the opportunity to renew those same promises, this time speaking for themselves.
Reconciliation (not strictly a Sacrament of Initiation). The Sacrament of Reconciliation was formerly known as the Sacrament of Penance and is also still commonly referred to as a child’s First Confession. The emphasis in preparing children for this sacrament is based on asking the children to reflect on times when they didn’t live as Jesus asked them. The children may, for example, draw a picture of a time when they didn’t show love for others. This picture is sometimes used by the child as a prompt to talk to the priest while they are receiving the sacrament. Confessional boxes are no longer used, the child and priest sit to one side of the church. In the sacrament of reconciliation, the children receive the grace of forgiveness and repentance. In order to receive their First Communion, children must first receive the grace of forgiveness and repentance and therefore most children will undertake the Sacrament of Penance sometime before their First Holy Communion