ECB Sacramental Programme Question and Answer Sheet.
My child has already received their First Holy Communion and First Reconciliation, do I have to attend all the sessions?
The new ECB Sacramental Program is a confirmation syllabus that is in keeping with many confirmation programs being used by the Catholic Church to prepare candidates for the Sacrament of Confirmation. It just so happens that if you have been prepared for Confirmation, you are also prepared for First Holy Communion. Being Confirmed deepens your understanding of Holy Communion which is an important aspect of the Diocese of Auckland decision to return to the Restored Order. Reconciliation is an important part in the preparation for Confirmation regardless of whether this is the candidates first time or not. In answer, it is important for all candidates and their catechist to attend all of the sessions even if they have already made their First Holy Communion.
My child has made their First Reconciliation and does not want to do another Reconciliation, can we skip it?
Being reconciled with God is something that all Catholics need to do at the very least once a year (The Catechism of the Catholic Church) to help us live a ‘Life of Grace.’ If your candidate has a strong objection to making a reconciliation as part of the preparation for their sacramental journey please make an appointment with our Parish Priest, Fr Carlo Cruz, to see where you and your candidate can be further supported in your Sacramental Life. Those candidates who miss the Reconciliation Event will have to make a separate appointment with Fr Carlo or Fr Emile to be reconciled before continuing on to being Confirmed.
I don’t want to be separated from my child/candidate for 15 minutes during the sessions, can I attend the session with my child?
Children learn in different ways, and no one knows better than their parent or sponsor. Our Sacramental Program respects your right to educate your own child in their faith, a tradition well established by the church. Our program is structured to help you do this in each session:
- An introduction section where we introduce the topic at hand.
- 15 minutes where we go over the materials in depth that you will need to cover with your candidate, while the children explore the topic at their own level in a classroom like setting. This better suits their learning style and gives them the opportunuty for more interaction with the leader and the group.
- 20 minutes where you and your candidate engage in an activity together that offers you a chance to find out what they got from their session with you building on the topic with what you have covered in your session. This is developed further with the apostolic project to do at home and the candidates journalling.
Educating parents and sponsors on The Catechism of the Catholic Church is the recommended methodology of our diocese. All materials covered in the sessions that the children have are available to you on request.
I am not practicing my faith and the teaching sessions are making me feel uncomfortable and challenged and I resent how ‘in my face’ the talks are. Can you teach so that I feel less intimidated?
We all find ourselves at different levels of involvement in our faith at different times and sometimes our experiences have ‘put us off’ our faith, but not so much that we want to turn away from it. This is personal to you and the catechists need to do their job for everyone. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is our source of information and we have an obligation to teach the fullness of faith. We don’t want to make you feel criticized and it might help to remember that the reason for attending the sessions is not recrimination, but a support so that you can offer your child as much as you can so that they develop a beautiful relationship with Jesus and the Sacraments where we meet Him personally.
I don’t really want to be Catholic, but all of my child’s classmates are receiving the Sacraments and they want to join in. Can we do this program when I have no intention of being Catholic?
Our faith in Jesus Christ and our love for our Holy Catholic Church makes this program an essential part of the way we live. When we promise to live our lives according to the path laid out for us by God the Father, Christ His Son and The Holy Spirit we are making solemn life changing promises. If you have no intention of practicing the Catholic Faith we will not be offended or judgmental, but we do ask that your follow up your decision to bring your child to the program by understanding and fulfilling your responsibility to bring them to church and involve them in parish life as much as you are able. Attending the Alpha Program in our parish will help you to understand some of the foundations of having a relationship with Christ.
I don’t like the sound of this program do I have other options?
The Orewa Parish, Glenfield Parish and Takapuna Parish all offer Sacramental Programs at different times and anyone is welcome to the programs they offer. Carmel College and Rosmini College also offer Sacramental Programs to their students if your child attends the school. Candidates who have been catechized reliably (And approved by our parish priest) outside of our parish, may with permission receive the sacraments in the ceremonies organised for our candidates. Please inform the Sacramental program leader well in advance so that approvals can be obtained.
Do I have to attend all the sessions?
In the 10 sessions we organise, we cover all of the materials essential to begin your candidates education in faith. In truth the sessions only scratch the surface of the teachings of the Catholic Church. If you miss even a single session you miss the insight to a vast resource of our faith. It is for this reason that one of the parents or the sponsor attends all of the sessions and collects the materials to go over with the candidate if the candidate is unable to attend. Parents are not allowed to leave their child at the session unattended.
Your candidate’s sponsor must be a practising catholic who has been confirmed and is 16 or older. They should be available for regular conversations with the candidate and be present at the Confirmation Ceremony. If the parents and candidate are sick or unable to attend the session, the sponsor should attend the session and pass the teachings and materials on.
My child is not mature enough to understand the Confirmation materials, can we just do First Holy Communion?
If your child is not mature enough to understand the Confirmation materials they should not be participating in Holy Communion our most precious sacrament. Do not feel pressured by a classroom situation for your child to participate in the sacraments if you do not feel they are ready. The Bishop in Auckland has instructed that the order of the sacraments will be Confirmation, followed by First Holy Communion.
East Coast Bays Catholic Parish is not my home parish, why do I have to be on the Parish Roll?
All the records in our parish are now electronic. Every week we have someone asking for a new copy of their Confirmation or Baptism certificate. We do not have enough volunteers to assist us with digitizing your data and so we need you to accurately fill in your information to keep on record, even if ECB is not your home parish. This also ensures that we print the certificates correctly. The Infoodle system we use takes 5 days for your registration to become visible in the groups. If you add your details within a week of the cutoff date for the program please notify us on firstname.lastname@example.org
The dates and times for the sessions and ceremonies are not ideal can we change them?
After years of running the program these are the days and times that best suit most of the families.
Sessions are held on Sunday afternoons from 3:00PM to 4:30PM
The Reconciliation Ceremony will be held on a weeknight starting at 6:00PM @ St John’s Church
The Confirmation Ceremony will be held on a weeknight starting at 6:00PM @ St John’s Church with a celebration supper afterwards. (Bring and Share)
The First Holy Communion Mass will be held on the Feast of Corpus Christi at St Francis Church at 10:30AM followed by a shared lunch in the St John School Hall (organised by parent volunteers)
Does my candidate need a fancy outfit for the ceremonies?
It is traditional to wear something red to your Confirmation Ceremony and something white to your First Holy Communion, but not a rule. We always try and wear our best clothes to celebrate the feast of our Heavenly Father, but please remember that the importance of the event lies in the experience of the sacraments and not in clothes or the celebrations.
What happens if we miss a session?
Attendance is recorded for all of the sessions and if the child is unable to be present, the parents and or the sponsor can fulfill the obligation by being present and passing the materials on. Make-up sessions might be available on a Friday afternoon in the Parish Office or after the 9:00AM Mass on Sunday. If sessions are missed, the parish priest will interview the family and candidate, if they are still interested in participating in the sacraments.