First Communion 2020

First celebrations of the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Communion

As our schools closed in March, many children in P4 were unable to complete their preparation for these two important Sacraments. They have been waiting in eager anticipation for these special moments and, now that parishes and schools have reopened, we can conclude their preparation and move forward to celebration the Sacraments with the children.

It was agreed across the Diocese that First Confessions and First Communions would be rescheduled to an early date in the new school year with an anticipation that the sacraments would be celebrated before Advent.

As this places an additional responsibility on teachers, parents and catechists, we wish to make available some resources to support you.

iCatholic videos

A set of three videos has been produced by iCatholic and are available on its website and on the diocesan website’s homepage in its video feed (bottom of the page). In this three-part series, Eleanor and Johanna along with Fr Chris help children prepare to celebrate Reconciliation and Holy Communion for the first time. 

Lesson 1 The Sacrament of Reconciliation (or as some call it, “Confession”) is the focus of the first lesson

Come to the Table of the Lord (1/3)

Worksheet 1 accompanies this lesson – click Worksheet1.

 

Lesson 2 In this second lesson Eleanor and Johanna along with Fr Chris explain more about the parts of the Mass.

Come to the Table of the Lord – Lesson Two

Worksheet 2 accompanies this video – click Worksheet2

 

Lesson 3 In this final lesson, Eleanor Johanna and Fr Chris explain how to prepare and practice for receiving Holy Communion for the first time.

Come to the Table of the Lord – Lesson Three

Worksheet 3 accompanies this video – click Worksheet3

 

Armagh Prays

The Armagh Archdiocesan Pastoral Team has also produced a set of videos to help children prepare for First Communion. The video series explore the mass and its importance in the life of the Church. They can be found at First Communion Video Resources

 

 

Arrangements for the remaining celebrations of Confirmation in 2020

As the restrictions imposed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic have been lifted, the Diocese has been considering how to move towards a renewal of parish life. The celebration of the Sacrament of Confirmation was one of the most pressing issues to emerge. As a result of discussions Archbishop Martin decided to allow Confirmations to take place from the 1st of August and to give parish priests flexibility in when and how they will be arranged. Faculties will be granted to all priests in the diocese to administer the sacrament as required.

Parishes vary significantly in the numbers of children to be confirmed and in the size of their churches. The parish COVID-19 Support Team will have worked out the maximum capacity allowed in each church considering social distancing. We will abide by public health authority limits for all services and work out how many confirmation ceremonies can be organised in August and early September. Our aim is to complete the confirmation of all our P7 children before they commence post-primary education.

To enable this, the use the Rite of Confirmation outside of Mass is recommended. This will help to reduce the amount of movement within the church especially if many of those attending are not familiar with the layout of the building or the protocols regarding reception of the Eucharist.

Finally, to support school and parental preparation for the sacrament, a series of resources will be made available.

You Shall be my Witnesses

The Armagh Diocesan Pastoral Team has adapted the five-session parish preparation programme ‘You Shall be my Witnesses’ for use by parents in the home or by teachers in the coming weeks. The resource can be found at the following web address: https://www.armaghprays.com/confirmation-programme.

iCatholic videos

A set of three videos has been produced by iCatholic and are available on its website and on the diocesan website. The three videos cover the following content.

Video 1 – Holy Spirit, Trinity, Power of the Spirit and Symbols of the Holy Spirit

Insights gained from every day use of the word Spirit (Community, team, Christmas, inspired etc)

Who the Holy Spirit is and the Holy Spirit as a Person of the Trinity – reflection on the Trinity.

The difference the Holy Spirit makes in the life of Jesus and the disciples.

Symbols of the Holy Spirit – Fire, Wind, Dove. Insights gained from these symbols.

 

Video 2 – Fruits and Gifts of the Holy Spirit.   

Begins with a quick fire quiz revising what was learned in previous lesson.

Explore what fruits and a gifts of the Holy Spirit are. Reflection on how we all have the fruits and gifts of the Holy Spirit.

The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit – a game is played where the children guess what gift of the Spirit each picture represents and these gifts are explored. Children are asked to think about what gift of the Holy Spirit they feel that they need to strengthen.

The nine fruits of the Holy Spirit – a game where the children are invited to guess what fruit of the Holy Spirit is being described.

A final game whereby the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit are combined and explored further.

 

Video 3 – The Confirmation Ceremony

Begins with a quick fire quiz revisiting what was learned in a previous lesson.

A name identification game is played and leads into a discussion on the significance of names and the importance of putting time and effort into choosing a confirmation name. Children are encouraged to choose a saint’s name and some saints are referenced.

The significance of a sponsor is explored.

The four parts of the Confirmation Ceremony are explored

  1. Calling by Name
  2. Renewal of Baptismal Promises
  3. Laying on of Hands
  4. Anointing with Chrism.

A reflection is given on how the ceremony might be different during the current pandemic.

A reminder that confirmation is not an ‘end’ but should be a new beginning.