Once the children reach year 3 (i.e. age 7) they are able to prepare for their First Holy Communion and First Reconciliation (Confession).
The preparation course for the children takes the form of catechetical sessions which are held weekly during term time at the Parish Church in Bridport. Each child will receive a workbook which they are encouraged to complete at home between sessions. The most important part of a child’s preparation is the celebration of Holy Mass and no amount of teaching can replace this experience which is an obligation binding to all Catholics.
There is very good support from the parish with a team of catechists and other regular helpers during the children’s sessions. Any of the catechists or helpers will be pleased to answer your questions. If your child is at a Catholic school there should be help at hand there also.
The catechetical program our parish follows is called I Belong, which is centred on the Mass. This allows the catechists to explore the meanings of each element of the Mass, particularly the Eucharist and unravel some traditions for them. Once a child has received their First Holy Communion they are allowed to serve on the altar and in our parish are able to lead the Bidding Prayers once they are confident at reading.
In our parish, the First Holy Communion Mass celebration always occurs on the Feast of Corpus Christi. The YouCat for Kids says: the Holy Eucharist is the sacrament, in which Jesus Christ gives himself to us. In the Eucharist we receive his body and blood. By eating and drinking him, we become the Body of Christ, that is, the Church. Without the Eucharist there is no Church.
If you decide to enrol your child on the First Holy Communion Course, it is of vital importance that you, as parents, fully support your child throughout. You can do this by ensuring that your child attends every class, by making time to talk through with them what they have learnt, by keeping up to date with what is happening on the course of preparation and most importantly by attending Holy Mass as a family every Sunday as the Church requires all its members to do.
When your child was baptised, you were reminded that you are the first teachers of the faith to your children by word and example. During the classes, we can only build upon what you do at home. You are the primary role models for your children and their educators in the ways of faith.
Details of the First Holy Communion Course dates in the Parish are published in the church’s weekly bulletin. If you wish to enrol your child in the programme, you should write to Canon Richard at the Presbytery address stating your desire for your child to receive this Sacrament and your intention for them to attend the preparatory course for all candidates.
Please note that you and your child should be regular, practising Catholics in this parish and that each child will be expected to complete the necessary catechesis for both the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the Eucharist.