Preparation for First Communion

Do this in Memory Programme

Do this in Memory is a resource developed in the dioceses of Kildare and Leighlin and the diocese of Ossory in 2002.  It is a resource that has been used by parishes to assist in the preparation of children for First Holy Communion.  It is a parish based programme and recognises First Communion preparation as the responsibility of the home, school and parish working together.  This preparation begins at the commencement of the school year.

b-egan-chalice-1634.205The feedback from those who have been involved in the programme is very positive and its success is the result of the enthusiasm of the Priest and parents of the First Communion children.  This group of co-ordinating parents meet once a month for nine months, from September to May. A core aim of the programme is to make Sunday Mass an experience of welcome, inclusion and belonging for children and their parents and a place where children pray with the community and experience people praying.  It also gives parents an opportunity to exercise ministry in the parish.  The interested parents appreciate the home dimension, particularly the suggestions offered to them to support faith deelopment in the home.  So many talents in parents were tapped into which otherwise would remain hidden eg reading at the Mass, writing the Prayers of the Faithful, creating a Sacred Space in the church etc.  The children love the little magazine they receive every Sunday "The Grape Vine".  The excellent guidelines provided in the manual to priests and co-ordinating parents makes the preparation easy. Children are also encouraged to make a little Sacred Space at home using the candle they received at their first Mass and to pray each evening.

Teachers have been very positive about the programme as it complements the great work being done in the classroom and helps the children to learn about the Mass.  They sense they are being supported by Priest and parish as they lead children to God.  Priests also have acknowledged the benefits of the programme as it gives them an opportunity to get to know the parents in a more personal way.

The Parish Catechist

In his Pentecost Pastoral Letter (2008) Bishop Jones gives thanks for greater lay involvement in the life of every parish in recent decades. He also suggests that tomorrow’s Church will benefit from having permanent deacons and parish catechists who can enthusiastically present the Christian life as a response to Christ’s invitation to follow him. Goodwill on its own, he reminds us, can achieve very little.

Parishes need to compliment the efforts of families and Catholic schools in bringing young people to a mature and sustaining faith. There is also a great need, he suggests, to support adults at various stages of life to deepen their faith through creative, life-giving and adult-learning friendly opportunities. With this in mind he asks for prayers that interested women and men will explore and pursue the ministry of Parish Catechist. He also invites such persons to become familiar with the materials provided through this web site and to approach their Parish Priests.

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