First Communion

Dear parents,

God so loved the world

  that he gave his only-begotten Son,

    so that everyone who believes in him may not perish

      but may have eternal life.

        Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world,

          but in order that the world might be saved through him (John 3.16-17).

The quote from St. John’s gospel, above, is one of the most beloved of all time by Christians. God reminds us through the gospel writer that Jesus, the Son of God, came into the world as one like us to offer us salvation, that is life with God beyond this life, along with a taste of heaven in this life.  There is no other way to heaven except through Jesus, who is “The Way, the Truth and the Life.”  On our part, we are invited to be his followers, his disciples.  The path of discipleship is the path of love.  And our understanding of love does not come from the world or the culture around us.  Following the example of Jesus, love is the sacrifice of ourselves that we offer to another in need.  It is speaking the truth in honesty.  It is providing a holy example to children for them to follow.  It is treating each person with respect and gentleness. It is inviting others to follow us in faith because we have found the treasure beyond all treasure and are willing to give up anything to have it.  It is the joy of service.  It is the great discovery of tender mercy and inner freedom.  It is committed prayer and public worship that touches the soul with sweetness as honey.  It is a determination and a perseverance which believes beyond all human hope.  And if this invitation seems like an overwhelming task, Jesus offers us the gift and the power of the Holy Spirit to lighten the burden on the way.

We, the leaders and the community of Holy Family Parish, are committed to helping you in your responsibility to raise your children as healthy, happy Catholic Christians. One day all too soon they will be ready themselves to be responsive and life-giving Catholics.

So, here is our commitment of assistance to you, who have children ages 7 (Grade 2) into the teens (Grade 8 and beyond):

We will assist children who are not yet baptised or who may have been baptised in another Christian community.

  1. We will assist children who are enrolled in our Catholic elementary schools, whether they are students of Notre Dame, St. Thomas More, St. Paul, St. Marguerite d’Youville schools or other Catholic schools beyond Holy Family Parish boundaries.
  2. We will assist children who are baptised Catholic and who are enrolled in public elementary schools.

Holy Family Parish offers a special program of sacramental preparation for each group above, as follows:

 Children not yet baptised or those baptised in a non-Catholic Christian denomination. These children will be invited to participate in a parish-based faith process. This process is a weekly gathering beginning September and finishing at Easter . These children will be baptised, if needed, celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation, receive the Eucharist for the first time, and complete their initiation into the church with Confirmation at a special mass for them on Sunday, April 23rd , 2016 at 1:00 p.m. Yes, that is to say that in this one year of faith development these children will receive all of the sacraments: Baptism, if needed; Eucharist (Communion); and Confirmation. The process itself is superb! It will be facilitated by a trained catechist, using magnificent and moving video presentations, class interaction and a student workbook. Children and parents will love it! Students will be roughly divided into two groups: one group consisting of students from grade two to four; another group consisting of students in grade seven and eight. Students in grade five and six will be assessed in terms of which best suits their needs.

Children who are baptised Catholic and who are enrolled in public elementary schools. Since these children have not enjoyed the advantage of a Catholic and Christian environment on a daily basis in a Catholic school, we are inviting these children to enroll in the process, above. Their weekly sessions begin on September and finish at Easter. Parents will be delighted to have their children in this program because of the depth of learning and understanding it will provide in the context of a small faith community of friends learning on the way. The learning process will have prepared them very well to appreciate and to love their Catholic faith. They will receive the sacraments of Reconciliation, Eucharist and Confirmation.

Children who are baptised Catholic and who are enrolled in a Catholic elementary school. Preparation for the sacraments take place in the classroom. This preparation process is enhanced by classroom visits by the clergy and staff of the parish with which the school is associated. Students enrolled at Notre Dame, St. Thomas More, St. Paul and St. Marguerite d’Youville schools will enjoy classroom visits by Patty Coenen, Fr. Seejo John and Fr. Bob Remark, all on staff at Holy Family Parish. Holy Family staff members will not be visiting other Catholic schools outside of parish boundaries. Additional sessions, outside of classroom time, are planned to enhance the faith development of students. Attendance at these are strongly encouraged. For students preparing to experience the sacrament of Reconciliation and reception of the Eucharist for the first time, special learning centres have been organized, one set offered in November; the other in February/March. It is an opportunity for parents and their children to engage in a variety of fun learning activities. Students preparing for Confirmation also have special sessions prepared for them outside of school class time.

Please find, attached:

  1. Registration forms to be completed and brought to the parent meeting, along with a copy of their baptism certificate (if applicable).
  2. A defined schedule of events for each particular sacramental preparation format

Fr. Seejo John and I very much look forward to working closely with you and your children in this awesome faith development process.

Devotedly yours in Christ,

Fr. Bob Remark, Pastor

Holy Family Parish