Sacrament of Confirmation
To the Parents of Children Eligible for First Reconciliation Preparation
You may read the letter below or download it here. ---------------------------->
It is now the time of the year that we are generally preparing the children for their First Reconciliation
( Confession). These children are usually in class year 3 or above.
However, we are in “unprecedented times.” Our lives have been turned upside down by the Corona Virus. Therefore, our parish community at Our Lady of the Nativity, Lawson, has had to postpone the preparation for the Sacrament of Reconciliation until 2021. Reconciliation will, hopefully, be celebrated in term four next year. Of course, this means that the children will not be eligible for their First Holy Communion until 2022.
It is with regret that we have had to postpone the Reconciliation program as we know there will be some disappointment, though probably tempered somewhat by relief, for all the families who would have been involved.
The preparation for the Sacrament of Reconciliation provides timely opportunities for the appropriate moral development of children. It also helps children to understand and reflect on the loving forgiveness and healing of God, which is generously given to all.
In the coming months, it could be a good start to talk to the children about right and wrong.
It is wise to let your child find examples. Ask your child, “Is it right or wrong- if a child were to make a deliberately unkind or selfish choice?“ Also, remember to ask your child to give some examples of “right” things to do. Don’t forget to remind your child that we can all make wrong choices, sometimes even adults do! It’s our aim to develop a healthy conscience not a lack of self esteem based on excessive guilt.
Finally it’s important to focus on God’s loving forgiveness, so, below is a family prayer based on the story of “The Lost Sheep” as told by Jesus.
Family Prayer Time (suggestion: light a candle )
The Lost Sheep (Luke 15: 1-7; Matthew 18: 12-14)
Leader : Back in the days when Jesus told this story the shepherds guarded their sheep very well . There were no fences, so, without a shepherd wolves could attack the sheep or they could fall into a deep ditch. The shepherd watched them closely, even sometimes sleeping out in the fields to be near the sheep. He knows each sheep, they all had names and the sheep knew the shepherd, recognised his voice, trusted him and followed him.
Reader : “Suppose a shepherd has a hundred sheep and loses one of them,”
Jesus said “What does he do? He leaves the ninety nine in the wilderness and searches until he finds the one that is lost. Upon finding it, he is so happy that he puts it on his shoulders and carries it back home. There he calls his friends and neighbours together and says to them “rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.”
Jesus then went on to explain the story, saying, “there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who asks for forgiveness than over ninety nine people who have no need to be forgiven”
Leader :Can anyone remember a time when they were lost?
How did it feel to be temporarily from your family?
Can we ever temporarily lose God?
How can we return to God again?
Family Forgiveness Prayer
Leader 1 : We remember that we might have said unkind words or were selfish in some way.
All : Help us to think about our behaviour and be sorry
Leader 2: We remember there are times that we have also hurt God by our deliberate wrong choices.
All : O Lord we are sorry, help us to make right choices.
Leader 2 : There are some people with whom we should make peace.
All: Help us to say sorry
Leader 1 : We know that God has forgiven us and helps us to make better choices.
All : O Lord, thank you for your loving and healing forgiveness.
Leader 1 : We remember the people who forgave us when we behaved badly.
All : We give thanks for their caring forgiveness.
Leader 2: We want to forgive those that have hurt us.
All : We give thanks for God’s love which we share by our forgiveness of each other.
The Family Prayer Time” is adapted from “Easter is Coming!” by Mary and Herb Montgomery
May God bless your family, especially during these unpredictable times.
From The Sacramental Team, Our Lady of the Nativity Catholic Parish, Lawson“
Our Confirmation Program.
The home preparation program commenced more than two weeks ago and the parents have the sacred mission to prepare their children for this life empowering Sacrament of Confirmation.
During the first week, the families have revisited their child’s Baptism. They have been encouraged to find all the symbols and memories of that special day, including some photos, the baptism candle and the white garment. They have been telling their children how they came to choose their baptismal name and why they have chosen to have their child baptised into the Catholic community. In sharing their own child’s Baptism story, the parents are fulfilling the promise that they made at their child’s Baptism to bring them up in the practice of the faith.
This connection to Baptism is the foundation to our understanding of the Sacrament of Confirmation. Confirmation is an extension of the Sacrament of Baptism. Not only does the Confirmation candidate publically confirm the Baptism themselves, but also, the Church confirms the previously initiated member of the Church.
The parents, this year especially, have a big responsibility in preparing their child for Confirmation. Let us pray for them and the Candidates for Confirmation .We pray also, that as we reflect on our own Baptism, we give thanks for the wonderful gift we received through Baptism, to be sisters and brothers of Jesus.
Bishop Vincent has now delegated the right to confer the Sacrament of Confirmation at Lawson Parish in 2020 to Fr Paul Slyney.
Fr Paul will now be celebrating Confirmation on Saturday 28th November . He will confirm a small number of children at different times throughout the day, thus remaining covid safe.
The Confirmation candidates will now be prepared for this inspiring Sacrament by their families within their homes. This is a parish decision made in the light of the increased restrictions now required in schools.
Our parish community are preparing family friendly materials to make the preparation time as meaningful as possible, not only for the candidate but the whole family.
It has also now been decided that the 2020 scheduled First Communion program and First Reconciliation programs will now be postponed until 2021
A message to families
As you probably already realize, the First Holy Communion program has been postponed until 2021. This is usually such a significant time in the life of our Catholic Church communities. The children look forward to it as a special time for them culminating in a joyous celebration when they share at the Table of the Lord with their family and friends for the first time and again later with our extended faith community.
But this year, the postponement of the program brings a combination of feelings including disappointment, probably mixed with some relief, as the strain of the Corona Virus has presented all of us, especially families, with many challenges.
However, this year, we encourage you to start the preparation for your child's First communion now, rather than waiting until the middle of next year. This can be done in a very simple and informal way through your family meal times.
We can help children grow in their understanding of the mass by helping them to see the connection between a family meal and the sacred meal we celebrate at Mass. Having a family meal is the most basic and powerful way of children understanding the Mass.
There are all sorts of ways of making family meal times even more educative and spiritual for your child. The use of candles, children's bible stories, prayers of thanks (note : see an example below) and traditional prayers eg: the Lord's Prayer or spontaneous prayer. All are a great way of helping your child grow in faith and love of God. However, it is the family meal time itself that is the most important tool to help you prepare your child for his/her First Communion.
Below are a couple of prayers that might be a simple way of “value adding“ to your family dinner
We Give Thanks and Praise
Blessed are you, loving God,
for all your gifts to us.
Blessed are you for giving us family and friends
to be with us in times of joy and sorrow,
to help us in days of need,
and to rejoice with us in moments of celebration.
Dear God our Father,
we praise you for your son Jesus,
who knew the happiness of family and friends,
and in the love of your Holy Spirit.
Blessed are you for ever and ever. Adapted from- Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops,
A Book of Blessings, 271.
Grace before our meal
Lord, we thank You for the food before us,
the friends beside us,
the love between us;
And Your Presence among us.
Holy Spirit Meditation
Your family can pray the following prayer together sometimes as you spend so much time at home during these days. You will need one person to be the leader. Take it slowly with lots of pauses.
With your eyes closed and sitting or standing straight with both feet grounded, pray:
Ever present Spirit of God, here with us now, help us to hear you. (x3)
Become aware of everything that is around you; the sounds, the smells.
Is it cool or warm? Notice the smooth or the rough feel of your clothes. Scan your body from toes to head; notice your posture, your muscles, any aches or pains. Scan how you feel. Are you happy or sad or peaceful? Notice any feelings or thoughts, then allow them to pass through your mind.
Focus now on your breath.
Become aware of breathing, of the air moving in and out through your lungs, throat, mouth and nose, of your diaphragm and ribs moving. With your next breath, breathe into your whole body, focus on your entire body – you become one point in the universe. You are one special person.
You are here together with the Holy Spirit.
Listen to the Spirit, feel the Spirit of Jesus close to you.
Ask the Holy Spirit to share with you love, peace and strength.
Thank the Holy Spirit for being with you
When ready, finish with the prayer:
Ever present Spirit of God, here with me now, help me to be here with you. (x3)
From the Sacramental team at Our Lady of Nativity Parish Lawson