Assisting Parents to Prepare their Child

Year One – When Children are in First Grade: Assisting Parents to Prepare their Children for the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist

Parishes have already implemented sessions in light of recommendations from Synod V and Canon Law:  “Especially at the time of preparation for the reception of a Sacrament, parents should be fully engaged in the renewal of their own understanding of that Sacrament” (Synod V, Diocese of La Crosse, n. 146).

Canon Law 913 #1:  For the administration of the Most Holy Eucharist to children, it is required that they have 1) sufficient knowledge, 2) careful preparation, 3) understand the Mystery of Christ according to their capacity and are 4) able to receive the Body of Christ with faith and devotion.

Our Hearts Were Burning within Us is the Bishop’s response to the New Evangelization in the area of Adult Faith Formation. The document states that the first major goal of adult catechesis is to help adults develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  (See n. 69)

In this regard, will you consider this formation for parents?  Please do what you can. Year One Suggestions – 1 to 3 sessions with Parents who have children in 1st Grade

1)  Careful Preparation – Focus on Sunday Mass Attendance

  • 1st Session:  Parents/Child 10-minute meeting with the Priest at the outset of the Preparation
  1.  Get to know the family; Ask the child what prayers he/she knows.  Encourage meal, bedtime prayer
  2. These two years are a very special time in preparing to receive the Sacraments of Reconciliation and First Holy Communion.  You will want to receive both Sacraments with your child.  If you have obstacles may we help you?
  3.  Sunday Mass attendance.  You and your child need to gather with the community to worship God and receive Jesus every Sunday. If this isn’t possible, Sacraments need to be delayed.
  4.  Call them to a higher level:  if they attend Mass every Sunday, then encourage one of the following: meal time prayers, developing a daily habit of family prayer, family Rosary – begin with a decade, other family prayer times, adoration etc.
  5. Give each family the book, Rediscover Jesus and ask them to read it.  Will be discussed at next mtg.

2)  Sufficient knowledge:   Possible 2nd and 3rd sessions:

  • What is Prayer – “Oremus” (Let Us Pray) DVD Program by Fr. Mark Toups
  • Before You Pray – “Oremus” (Let Us Pray) DVD Program by Fr. Mark Toups
  • Praying with Scripture – “Oremus” (Let Us Pray) DVD Program by Fr. Mark Toups
  • Relational Prayer – “Oremus” (Let Us Pray) DVD Program by Fr. Mark Toups
  • The Journey of Faith:  Trinity, Faith and the God Who is Love – “Symbolon I” DVDs by Edward Sri
  • The Bible:  God’s Love Letter to Humanity – “Symbolon I” DVDs by Edward Sri
  • The Story of Salvation:  Creation, Fall and Redemption – “Symbolon I” DVDs by Edward Sri

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Year Two – When Children are in Second Grade: Assisting Parents to Prepare their Children for the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist

Parishes have already implemented sessions in light of recommendations from Synod V and Canon Law:  “Especially at the time of preparation for the reception of a Sacrament, parents should be fully engaged in the renewal of their own understanding of that Sacrament” (Synod V, Diocese of La Crosse, n. 146).

Canon Law 913 #1:  For the administration of the Most Holy Eucharist to children, it is required that they have 1) sufficient knowledge, 2) careful preparation, 3) understand the Mystery of Christ according to their capacity and are 4) able to receive the Body of Christ with faith and devotion.

Our Hearts Were Burning within Us is the Bishop’s response to the New Evangelization in the area of Adult Faith Formation. The document states that the first major goal of adult catechesis is to help adults develop a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  (See n. 69)

In this regard, will you consider this formation for parents?  Please do what you can. Year Two Suggestions – 4 sessions with Parents who have children in 2nd Grade

Note:  Include components of Careful Preparation and Sufficient Knowledge from Year One if there will not be any formational parent meetings when their child is in first grade.

3)  Sufficient knowledge:  Suggested 2 –  30 min. DVD presentations to parent

Formation for Parents:   Sacrament of Reconciliation
  • Forgiven:  The Transforming Power of Confession;  DVD’s by Augustine Institute /Lighthouse Catholic Media
    • Session 1: Where Are You? (31 minutes)
    • Session 2: An Encounter with Mercy (26 minutes)
    • Session 3: The Rite Explained (33 minutes)
    • Presentation by Dr. Tim Gray: Biblical Foundations: Sin, Mercy, and the Sacrament of Confession (65 minutes)
    • Presentation by Dr. Edward Sri: Answering Common Questions about Confession (38 min.)
    • For Parents: Preparing Your Child for First Confession (44 minutes)
  • Who is Jesus?: Just a Good Man or Lord of our Lives? – “Symbolon I” DVDs by Edward Sri
  • The Holy Spirit and the Life of Grace:  God’s Divine Life Within Us – “Symbolon” DVDs by Edward Sri
  • Why Do I Need the Church?:  The Mystery of the Catholic Church – “Symbolon” DVDs by Edward Sri
Formation for Parents:  Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist
  • The Eucharist:  Source and Summit of Christian Life – “Symbolon II” DVDs by Edward Sri
  • Walk through the Mass:  Exploring the Sacred Liturgy – “Symbolon II” DVDs by Edward Sri
  • Viewing a Eucharistic Miracle from the DVD entitled “This is My Body; This is My Blood – Miracles of the Eucharist” (parents only) DVD available for free rental

4)  Understand the Mystery of Christ according to their capacity (which grows over a lifetime)

  • Suggested interview with the Priest
  • Before receiving First Holy Communion, it is suggested that the Priest interview each child with parents present, or if it is better to have the child alone with the priest so that the child is able to be more focused, parents can be within eyesight.
  • Below is a series of questions to draw from the student the main points of the Bible that are the foundational points regarding the Holy Eucharist:
    • 1.  God providing manna in the Old Testament – the people could not have survived 40 years in the desert.
    • 2. Jesus, God Himself, feeds the people with the multiplication of loaves and fishes – the people could not have made it without being fed.
    • 3. Jesus gives His own flesh and blood to us in the Holy Eucharist to feed us spiritually –  we cannot survive without the Body and Blood of Christ.

5) Careful Preparation

Retreat for the children and parents before receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation:  Suggested components for children while parents are watching adult level teaching as listed above:

  • Praying with Scripture using Prayer worksheet on the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11-32)
  • (download worksheet/directions – do orally with the children)
  • Forgiven:  The Transforming Power of Confession by Augustine Institute /Lighthouse Catholic Media
  • Session 4: For Children: How to Make a Good Confession (14 minutes)
  • Show children the confessional – go through a “dry-run” with the priest and you as the penitent
  • Allow the students to act out The Prodigal Son, explaining that the father in the parable represents our Heavenly Father.
  • Tell a story of a Saint who forgave someone.  Examples:  St. Bernadette Soubirous forgave those who did not believe and made fun of her about the apparitions of Mary. St. Louis IX, King of France, was known for his mercy and impartial justice and even forgave members of the nobility who unsuccessfully rebelled against his rule. St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Society of Jesus – the Jesuits, once walked a hundred miles during the winter to nurse a man who had fallen ill — a man who, only a few weeks earlier, had stolen Ignatius’s meager savings. St. Edmund Campion, priest and martyr, was betrayed and arrested; while in prison, he was visited by the man who had betrayed him. Not only did Edmund forgive his betrayer; he also urged him to leave England, where he might be in danger himself, and gave him a letter of safe-conduct to a Catholic nobleman in Germany.
  • Explain the words in the Our Father about forgiving others as the Lord forgives us.
  • Speak about the need to pray for God’s help in order to forgive someone.  Rehearse situations and the wording of “I am sorry” and “I forgive you” so the children can practice Christian forgiveness toward others.

Retreat for the children and parents before receiving First Holy Communion:
Suggested components for children while parents are watching adult level teaching as listed above:

6) Receiving Jesus with Faith and Devotion

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