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Celebration of Sacraments with Children

POLICY
Each parish will have available, annually, appropriate catechesis for children leading them to full initiation and regular participation in the Sacraments.

IMPLEMENTATION
1. The principles are outlined in the General Catechetical Directory for Catechesis (#177-180), and in the National Catechetical Directory (#120-122, 124-126), and the content of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (#3-4).
  • Appropriate catechesis for these Sacraments is inspired by the baptismal catechumenate that follows a pattern of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. This pattern has four phases: Pre-catechesis; Immediate catechesis; Sacramental celebration; and Post-Baptismal catechesis.
  • Catechesis with children and family for Reconciliation and Eucharist presumes baptism, and a growing relationship with Jesus Christ in a Roman Catholic parish.
  • Sacramental catechesis is a parish-based process of formation separate from a graded catechetical program and/or parish/school.
  • The readiness of the child, determined by the parents in consultation with the pastor or his delegate and a catechist, suggests when the Sacrament should be celebrated. Age or grade level alone is insufficient basis for deciding readiness. The participation of the family in the faith of the child is important in determining the decision.
2. Pre-catechesis introduces the attitudes and values celebrated, the signs and symbols used, and a basic understanding of the Sacrament.
  • Families catechize by their attitude, action, values, prayer, and sacramental life (NCD #213)
  • Parish communities catechize by the quality of their celebration and participation, manner of welcoming and organization as a faith community.
  • Catechetical ministers participate by helping identify persons who are ready for immediate catechesis.
  • Parishes and Catholic schools assist parents and children to make informed decisions.
3. Immediate catechesis directly precedes the first celebration of a sacrament.
  • Families intensify their prayer and discussion about a sacrament and become involved in preparing the sacramental celebration.
  • Parish communities increase their awareness and support by appropriate prayer, blessings, and rituals.
  • Catechetical ministers help children and families focus on a particular sacrament, its symbols and rituals, so they can more deeply live their sacramental relationship with the Lord and the community.
4. Post-sacramental catechesis: through appropriate catechesis, vibrant celebrations, and active involvement, families, parishes, and schools encourage sacramental life of the child.

Additional information or help with questions and resources is available at the Office of Catechetical Ministry at (909) 475-5452.