Preparation for First Penance and Reconciliation and First Communion is a two year process and takes place within our Religious Education program. Parents, as the primary faith teachers for their children, partner with our classroom catechists in this journey and minister to their children by participating in at home activities, parent-child preparation sessions, and parent meetings.
There are 2 paths that children typically follow as they journey to the sacraments:
First grade children participate in grade 1 Religious Ed Class on Sunday mornings or Tuesday evenings. In grade 2, children prepare for and celebrate their First Penance and Reconciliation and First Communion.
Children in grades 2, 3, 4, or 5 with no prior religious education participate in a specially designed "Foundations in Faith" class, offered on Sundays from 10:00-11:00am, to gain a basic understanding of God, Church, and faith. This hands on, highly interactive class promises to be engaging, meaningful, and lots of fun! The following school year, the child participate in the “Advancing in Faith” class, offered on Sundays from 10:00-11:00am to prepare for their First Penance and First Communion.
The whole power of the sacrament of Penance consists in restoring us to God’s grace and joining us with Him in intimate friendship. (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1468)
Prayers for First Penance: In order that children may engage most fully in the celebration of the sacraments, parents are asked to ensure children are able to independently and reverently recite the following Catholic prayers.
While these prayers will be prayed during religious education classes, it is the role of the parent to ensure that the child has learned them completely and has incorporated them into their prayer life.
The sacrament of Penance is celebrated before First Communion in the Archdiocese of Washington.
The Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life. (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1324) What material food produces in our bodily life, Holy Communion wonderfully achieves in our spiritual life.(Catechism of the Catholic Church 1392)
First Communion is generally celebrated in a large group consisting of children in the religious education program and students from our parish who attend Mary of Nazareth Catholic Elementary School.
If it is the desire of the family to have their child receive his/her First Communion during a regularly scheduled Sunday mass, parents are asked to contact the Director of Religious Education.