Step One – Enrol
- Children baptized outside of St. Joseph Church will need to submit a Sacramental record from the church they were baptized in.
- Children who belong to another church need a letter or blessing from their parish priest.
Your church is usually the parish closest to where you live or where you regularly worship.
Contact the parish office to arrange to pick up the First Reconciliation workbook.
Step Two – Prepare for First Reconciliation
Step Three – Receive the Sacrament of First Reconciliation
After completing all preparation, make arrangements for your child’s First Reconciliation.
Step Four – Prepare for First Communion
Step Five – Arrange to celebrate First Communion
We will hopefully begin celebrating First Communions after Easter. Check back here in late March for details.
First Reconciliation / Communion Preparation Live Info-Stream
If you weren’t able to join us, check out the recording of the life info-stream from September 15th.
It is with great joy that St. Joseph Church welcomes children in grades two or above to the process of preparing to receive the Sacraments of First Reconciliation and First Holy Communion. These Sacraments mark two very important steps a child’s faith journey. The Sacrament of Reconciliation gives us the opportunity to experience the great love and mercy of God by assuring us of the forgiveness of Jesus. In Holy Communion, Jesus Himself comes to us. He is present body, blood, soul and divinity under the appearance of bread and wine – what a mystery! In this great Sacrament we experience union with God and with our brothers and sisters more closely than anywhere else on earth. Our prayer and hope is that, through this preparation process, this time in your family’s and child’s life will not simply be a ritual but a period of true faith growth.
To preparing your child for these important Sacraments, the parish, family and Catholic school work together to pass on the faith. At school, children learn much of the background and foundation of these Sacraments; at home, the family show children how these Sacraments are lived out daily and at the church clergy and catechists work together to ensure that candidates are properly instructed on the meaning and significance of the Sacraments they will receive and how they are celebrated.
The Preparation Process
This year, preparation will look a bit different. Most of the preparation will be done at home at whatever pace parents choose using a couple of workbooks and accompanying videos. There are no due dates or pressure. At thirty minutes a week, typically children can be prepared to receive their First Reconciliation in eight weeks and their First Communion in another ten weeks. It’s also never too late to sign a child up to prepare to receive these Sacraments. This process can begin at whatever time is most convenient for families.
Doesn’t this all happen at school?
The Sacraments are about a faith relationship found within the community of the Church, not membership in a school. Eventually, students graduate from their school; they may visit, but their school will not be the place they go back to for healing in a moment of crisis, for sacramental care in a time of sorrow or joy, or for direction when they are called to grow and mature in life. A parish, a faith community, is a family one never graduates from, and through the Sacraments one declares, “I want to be a member of a community of faith for life”. Through our community, the faithful, including our children, grow and become who God wants them to be!
How to Enrol
Families living within the boundaries of, and registered and worshiping at, St. Joseph Church in Bowmanville are welcome to enrol their children for the Sacrament here. Once enrolled, arrangements will be made for parents to pick up the workbooks needed. Directions for accessing all the preparation material will also be given.
Additionally, families will also be asked to provide a copy their child’s baptismal certificate. Certificates can be obtained from the parish where he/she was baptized. These can then be dropped off to the office at St. Joseph Church or uploaded. Those baptized at St. Joseph Church do not need to provide a copy of their certificate.
Ready to enrol?
Candidates from Other Churches
Ordinarily, a candidate for any Sacrament should receive this Sacrament in his or her own parish, usually the closest parish to where they live or the parish where they regularly worship. For a serious reason, a candidate, with the permission of their parish pastor, may receive these Sacraments in another parish. If a child from a parish other than St. Joseph Church in Bowmanville wishes to receive the Sacraments of First Reconciliation or their First Holy Communion at St. Joseph Church in Bowmanville, we ask him or her to obtain a letter of blessing and permission from the parish pastor.
Participation at Sunday Mass
At baptism, parents promise to raise their children in the practice of the faith. Through the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Communion, candidates are strengthened in their Christian commitment and begin the process of taking personal responsibility for building good faith habits. This is, indeed, a grace filled time for candidates and family members alike. The most consequential way parents can help their children prepare for any sacrament is to participate regularly with him/her in the Sunday Eucharist (every week).
Candidates and their families are strongly encouraged to participate in Mass regularly. Normally, this is done in person by going to church. During the COVID-19 pandemic however, the bishop has dispensed Catholics from the obligation to attend Sunday Mass. Participation in Mass through an online live stream is still encouraged.
The Sunday Eucharist is at the very centre, the “heartbeat”, of the Catholic Christian; it is, after all, what receiving the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Communion are all about. Every aspect of our Catholic life, everything else we do, is rooted in our celebration of the Sunday Mass and without it our Christian lives are incomplete. It is important that our actions match our inner thoughts, so, candidates looking to receive these two Sacraments who also intend to not enter a church again for some time afterwards should question whether or not this is the appropriate time in their lives to receive these Sacraments.
At St. Joseph Church in Bowmanville, your family are invited and welcome to join any our Sunday Masses designed to fit any busy schedule:
Saturday, 4:30pm; Sunday, 9:00am; Sunday, 11:00am and Sunday, 7:00pm
During the COVID-19 pandemic, these Masses are streamed online at stjoes.online.church.
May God bless you as you continue on your journey of faith. Of course, if our parish can be of any assistance or answer any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us. The entire parish community shares your excitement as you prepare for these beautiful Sacraments!