Preparation to receive First Communion begins with the faith witness of the family and home. When a child's parents discern a readiness for this important step, the family begins the formal process of preparation. A letter, mailed
mid-summer to families of children entering second grade, gives parents instruction on how to begin the process. This is also announced in the parish bulletin during the month of August. Although preparation traditionally takes place in grade two, parents may discuss with the pastor and religious education director an individual child's preparation earlier or later than second grade based on the readiness and maturity of the individual child.
The process of preparation includes:
- Attendance at a parent orientation meeting (early in October).
- Attendance at six Family Sessions from fall to spring on Sunday afternoons after the 11:00 Mass (12:15-1:30 p.m.).
- Catechesis in St. Noel Faith Formation program or attendance at a Catholic Day School.
- Family ministry experiences and related reflection documented in a concrete way (e.g. scrapbook, etc.).
- Special participation in liturgies on designated weekends for acceptance and blessings from the parish community.
- Celebration of First Communion at the parish liturgies (5:00 p.m. Saturday, 9:00 a.m. or 11:00 a.m. on Sunday) on the designated First Communion weekend (generally two weeks after Easter), or any parish weekend liturgy during the Easter season.
- Participation in “Sharing the Mystery” weekend (after one of the parish liturgies) on the designated weekend toward the end of the Easter season.
Preparation for First Reconciliation involves most importantly the readiness and maturity of the individual child. Catechesis takes place at all levels of religious development. The time to celebrate "reconciling" in the context of the Church community is left to the decision of the child and parent; however the usual time to celebrate this sacrament is at a communal reconciliation service for our young people before Easter, or at any time by making an appointment with the Pastor.