Sacramental Preparation: Confirmation and First Eucharist
As Catholics we believe that the Sacraments are the outward signs of inward grace which were established by Christ and effect what they signify. Because they are the normal means of receiving God’s grace, it is very important for children to receive the Sacraments of the Church as soon as possible, that they may take full advantage of the inheritance offered them through their Baptism. In the Diocese of Phoenix all baptized children who have reached 3rd grade age (8 years old) and have received first reconciliation are invited to prepare for the sacrament of Confirmation and the reception of First Holy Communion, which together with baptism complete initiation into the Catholic Church.
In order to receive these sacraments fruitfully it is important for the candidates to undergo a time of special preparation, that their hearts may become more receptive to the graces they will receive. The mandated components of this preparation, in addition to normal religious formation, are: a course of instruction focusing on the sacraments, an experience of Christian service, and attendance at a retreat.
At Saint Mary candidates are expected to participate in one of the offered parish R.E. programs(Atrium, Family of Faith, or Catholic Scouting), as well as attend the preparation classes, complete a service project with their family, and participating in a one day retreat in either fall or spring. The dates are as follows:
Preparation Classes (1 Sunday/month 4:00-5:30pm)
Fall 2020: August 30, September 20, October 25, November 1, December 6
Spring 2021: January 10, February 7, March 7, April 11, May 2
Retreats (choose one)
Fall: Saturday, October 24 - 8:00am-3:45pm
Spring: Saturday,March 6 - 8:00am-3:45pm
For the service component families should arrange a project according to the candidate’s interests and talents which incorporates one or more of the spiritual or corporal works of mercy. Once it has been completed the candidate should either prepare a report(2-3 paragraphs) detailing the service and their thoughts on how this service is a part of a mature Catholic lifestyle, or schedule an interview with the Coordinator of Religious Education to discuss their experience. In either case pictures and whole family participation are encouraged! Any families who would like suggestions or additional direction are encouraged to contact the Coordinator of Religious Education
Each candidate should select a sponsor to guide and support them during the preparation process; selecting a baptismal Godparent is highly encouraged. The sponsor must be at least 16 years old, not the birth or adoptive parent of the candidate, and a fully initiated Catholic. Further, the sponsor must be leading a life in harmony with Church teachings, be free from canonical penalty, and be able to be actively involved in the faith life of the Candidate. If the sponsor is not a member of St. Mary’s, a letter from their pastor stating that they meet these requirements is required before the confirmation.
At the time of this writing the date of the Confirmation and First Holy Communion is not yet announced: we hope to hold the ceremony in late May or June of 2021. A copy of the Candidate’s baptismal certificate will need to be presented before the date of Confirmation and First Holy Communion.The fee is $40 per child to help cover both First Communion and Confirmation textbooks as well as other supplies. No child will be excluded due to lack of funds. Please note that the above program is intended for children who have been baptized Catholic. Children who are not baptized Catholic, or those 14 years or older who still need Confirmation and/or First Holy Communion, should be prepared through the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (R.C.I.A.) or an adaptation thereof.