It is important to remember that sacraments are not ends in themselves, but rather are gifts of God’s grace that we receive in order to strengthen us for our faith journey and continued growth. Families are encouraged to take sacrament preparation seriously and consider the importance of the daily practice of the faith, participation in parish life, and weekly attendance at Mass.
Archdiocesan Policy on Sacrament Preparation
The Newark Archdiocese requires a minimum of two full years of preparation for all sacraments received by our children. Therefore, to receive Reconciliation and Eucharist in Grade 2, the child must attend Grades 1 and 2 of religious education (Catholic school or CCD). Transcripts will be required for children transferring from another parish or Catholic school.
Preparation for the sacrament of Reconciliation typically takes place in the fall of 2nd Grade. Older children are encouraged to come forward and prepare for the sacrament if they have not already done so. They will prepare in an age-appropriate group. The program is a combination of family gathered sessions and home study.
The sacrament of First Reconciliation celebration takes place in the spring.
Preparation for Eucharist follows the reception of the sacrament of Reconciliation. This program is also a combination of family gathered sessions and home study. Regular Mass attendance is critical to adequately prepare the children for Eucharist. Participating in Mass every Sunday helps the child understand that they are preparing for a life time of coming to the Lord’s table. It creates a deeper desire to receive Jesus in the Eucharist and makes their first Communion Day truly memorable.
The children receive First Eucharist with their families during Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon Liturgies beginning in April and continuing through May.
Although these sacraments are typically celebrated in the 2nd grade, that is not always the case. Readiness for the reception of a sacrament is not determined only by age. The sacraments are received when the parents, Pastor, and Director agree upon the child’s readiness and all the program requirements have been satisfied.