What Do You Want from Your Parish? Sacramental Preparation

What Do You Want from Your Parish? Sacramental Preparation February 25, 2014

Our weeklong series “What Do You Want from Your Parish?” continues. Today the focus is on Sacramental Preparation.

How can your parish best aid you in your mission within your Domestic Church in the arena of preparing your family to receive the sacraments? What great experiences can you share from your own parish, or other good ones you’ve heard of? If you were able to make a request of your pastor in this area, what would you ask for?

Please include your comments below or feel free to email me at lisahendey@gmail.com. And if you’d really like my unending gratitude, record a one minute video answering this question and email it to me. In order for our talk to be a good resource for those attending, your feedback is essential and greatly appreciated!

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  • I speak more as a catechist than a parent. What I’d like the most is for every catechist to be someone whose life has been changed by Jesus, tends to their faith formation, and gives personal witness in the classroom. If that were so, I don’t think it would much matter what particular programs were in place.

    • lisahendey

      Terrific comment!

  • Theresa Crow

    My parish has followed the Church teaching ‘parents are 1st & best catechists’ for sacramental preparation since its founding nearly 45 yrs ago. I am the Children’s Minister & plan the preparation for Eucharist & Reconciliation. Each preparation begins with a 90 minute parent session to update parent understanding of the sacrament & talk about the details of how things are done @ St. Mark.
    The parents receive a family guide & child’s book to work with their child at home. I give them a schedule to keep them on track. For Reconciliation, there is a mini-retreat for parent & child who stay together thru the activity stations. For Eucharist, there is a family workshop with parent/child activities on Stone Soup, bread-making & understanding the Mass (the new dvd, “Understanding the Sunday Mass: A Kid’s Point of View” from Anchor pub is excellent). The mini-retreat for Eucharist is again for both parent & child and includes a simple Seder meal to help make connections, practice receiving the sacrament and other activities.
    At Mass the weekend following the parent session for each Sacrament, the children & their parents receive a blessing from the parish community, this brings in the parish to help pray for the children as they prepare to celebrate the sacraments. Each child & their parent(s) (siblings & grandparents too) come in for an interview with me. I encourage parents to gather the whole family during the home lessons, this allows older siblings to share their experiences & to strengthen their understanding of the sacrament. For younger siblings, it’s an intro and something to look forward too.

    • lisahendey

      Theresa I truly appreciate you sharing your process with us. What types of feedback do you get from the families who participate? I would think that many of them welcome the chance to be given resources, but to plan this in their homes in a way that works well for them.

      • Theresa Crow

        Most families give positive feedback. I am available to help parents by phone or email if they need support. The 1st child in the family is usually the hardest but these parents are the ones who encourage new parents, telling them that Sacrament Prep @ St Mark is great. Even the parents who are going thru with their 3rd or 4th child, look forward to the experience.

        I encourage families to help their children learn the Act of Sorrow & the Prayer after Communion by saying the prayer as their dinner prayer. Several years ago one family came in for the interview, their older was celebrating 1st Recon, with a 2nd, kinder & 3 yr old, When I asked the 2nd grader to say the Act of Sorrow, all 3 kids said it perfectly. This year that 3 yr old is celebrating 1st Euch in May.

        One of the special activities for families to do is the “Tour of the Church”, which most call the scavenger hunt. Parents take their children on a special tour using the guide book I created. Parents love this more than the kids. The goal is for everyone to become more familiar with the parish church, gaining a sense of respect & reverence and knowing that this place belongs to all.

        • lisahendey

          I love that Church tour idea!! I think that would be wildly popular at my parish…

          • Theresa Crow

            Every year before I print the guide, I give it to Fr.Kevin to review. He usually adds something new. It started as 1 sheet front & back, now it’s a 8.5×5.5 booklet using 4 sheets.