Confirmation & First Communion: Year 2 of Sacramental Preparation
**Due to the uncertain climate of the Covid-19 Pandemic, we are in the process of modifying this year’s plans to provide opportunities for families to continue sacramental preparation safely: at home, virtually, and in-person, if possible. We will update the site and communicate more specific details with families with in August.**
Most Precious Blood has transitioned our Sacramental Preparation programming in accordance with the Archdiocesan mandate to restore the order of the Sacraments of Initiation. This means that the sacraments will be celebrated in the original order of Baptism, Confirmation and First Communion, restoring the practice of administering the Sacraments of Initiation to young children as early as possible. In the restored order, the Sacraments of Confirmation and First Communion are typically celebrated in the child’s 3rd grade year. During the 2nd grade year, children prepare for and celebrate their First Reconciliation. Sacramental Preparation is done by the parents in the home with help from the parish faith formation team.
Sacraments of Confirmation and First Communion (Restored Order)
Initiation is the word we use to describe the process of being welcomed into a group. The Sacraments of Initiation solemnly mark the full entrance of an individual into the Christian community. This initiation signifies that the person has died to sin and is reborn in Christ. Through Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist, one becomes a full member of the Body of Christ, the Church. The restored order of Confirmation and First Communion highlights the primacy of the Eucharist as the fulfillment of Christian initiation.
Additionally, many people ask why we now confirm children at such a young age since for many years, the teaching of Confirmation was for candidates to choose for themselves the faith that was chosen for them by their parents at Baptism. The sacramental theology of confirmation – and the reason the bishop is the ordinary minister of this sacrament – is that God is confirming, through the bishop, what the parish priest had celebrated at Baptism. God is choosing us and confirming, strengthening, and deepening the graces received at Baptism through the bishop, who claims us for the Church.
Therefore, through the Sacrament of Confirmation, the bishop (or his delegate) confirms the sacramental journey of faith begun at baptism and initiates candidates into the Greater Church community. Through the celebration of the Eucharist, one continues the initiation process in becoming part of the Body of Christ – ever widening our reach of participation in our World Church.
PROGRAMMING FOR YEAR 2 OF SACRAMENTAL PREPARATION (Confirmation & First Communion)
In the past, FAITH (the family-based religious education program at MPB) has been viewed as a program offered to parish families whose children do not attend Catholic school. However, FAITH is a parish sponsored program, meaning it is open to all families registered in our parish, regardless of where children attend school. FAITH provides an opportunity for families to journey together – through prayer, activity, and discussion – as they grow in their understanding of and participation in our Catholic identity. FAITH is a mandatory component of the sacramental preparation process for children who do not attend Catholic school and participation is strongly encouraged for those children who do attend Catholic school.
In 2018-19, Sacramental Preparation for First Reconciliation, Confirmation and First Communion became a 2-year program. In accordance with the mandate from the Archdiocese of Denver, MPB has transitioned into celebrating the Restored Order of the Sacraments of Initiation. This means that children celebrate their First Reconciliation in the fall of Year 1 (typically in the second grade). In the spring of Year 1, children will begin preparing for the sacrament of Confirmation, followed by First Eucharist in Year 2 (typically in third grade). In the spring of Year 2, the Rite of Confirmation precedes the celebration of First Communion within the same ceremony. At MPB, our 2-year program for the preparation and celebration of these sacraments looks like this:
Year 1 (typically 2nd Grade)
- Families register for FAITH and Year 1 Sacramental Preparation (First Reconciliation) in July or August.
- In the fall of Year 1, baptized children prepare for and celebrate their First Reconciliation.
- In the spring of Year 1, families will begin working through the Confirmation component of the in-home study program.
Year 2 (typically 3rd Grade)
- Families register for FAITH and Year 2 Sacramental Preparation (Confirmation & First Communion) in July or August.
- Children and their families will continue working with confirmation while beginning their study on the Eucharist in preparation for their First Communion & Confirmation Mass in the spring. The exact dates for those celebrations are determined by the Archdiocese and should be available to us by early fall.
Families hoping to participate in sacramental preparation programming must be registered members of Most Precious Blood parish. If you need to register, please click here.
Participation Guidelines for Year 2 of Sacramental Preparation
- Registration is open to all baptized MPB children in 3rd grade or above (by August 2019) who have celebrated their First Reconciliation AND
- Who are enrolled in the FAITH program AND
- Whose families attend Family Service Sundays AND
- Whose families attend the welcome back potluck on September 8, 2019 AND
- Who attend the 2 scheduled rituals AND
- Who provide a recently issued, certified baptismal record from the child’s church of baptism AND
- Whose families are registered members of MPB Parish AND
- Who register and pay the fee for Year 2 Sacramental Preparation (Confirmation & First Communion) by August 31, 2019 AND
- Who complete their at home study program and assignments!
Required Items for Year 2 of Sacramental Preparation (Confirmation & First Communion)
Certified Baptismal Record
If the candidate was not baptized at Most Precious Blood, a certified baptismal record must be sent to MPB from the candidate’s church of baptism. This can be obtained by calling or emailing the parish of baptism and requesting that the record be sent to MPB. Photo copies of the child’s baptismal certificate do not suffice.
Sacramental Recording Form
In order to record the necessary information for each candidate following the celebration of a sacrament, ALL families must submit a completed Sacramental Recording Form, regardless of where the candidate was baptized. This is a paper form to be completed by parents. The form will be distributed at the potluck and will be accessible here in September. It must be completed by November 16, 2019.
Candidates will need to choose a sponsor for Confirmation when preparing for Confirmation & First Communion. A candidate’s parent may not serve as a sponsor. Sponsors must be practicing, confirmed Catholics over the age of 16 and currently registered in a parish. The Confirmation sponsor should be a faithful Catholic who accompanies the candidate as witness and guide. This may be the candidate’s godparents which supports the connection between Baptism and Confirmation, but does not have to be a godparent. The sponsor should display maturity for this role and a willingness to witness their faith to the candidate. The primary role of the sponsor is to listen, support, pray for and assist the candidate on his/her spiritual journey. The sponsor must be at least 16 years of age and confirmed.
We encourage sponsors to spend time with their candidates during this formation process. Here are some ideas to share with sponsors: attend Mass together, go to the Stations of the Cross during Lent, participate in Family Service Sundays and outside service opportunities, face time and share information about each month’s formation topic. Candidates will also have the opportunity to interview his/her sponsor as part of their Confirmation coursework. The sponsor interview and synthesis document is available for download below.
Selection of Confirmation Name & Saint Report
A Confirmation & First Communion candidate may be confirmed under his or her baptismal name, or in accordance to the past custom of the Church, select the name of a biblical, beatified, or canonized person. If candidates decide to select a name, they should be familiar with the life of the patron of their choice and the ways in which this person was a witness to Christ and demonstrated discipleship. A basic brief guided report on the person is a required part of the course work. The Saint Report document is available for download below.
Required Dates for Year 2 of Sacramental Preparation
The outline for a typical year is listed below. Due to the uncertain climate of the Covid-19 Pandemic, we are in the process of modifying this year’s plans to provide opportunities for families to continue sacramental preparation safely: at home, virtually, and in-person, if possible. We will update the site and communicate more specific details with families with in August.
- Fall 2020 (typically September) Year 2 begins with a Family Workshop. Candidates beginning the 2nd year of their sacramental preparation process will gather together,, share a brief overview of the year ahead and receive the preparation materials, assignments and ritual dates for First Communion.
- Participate in FAITH, if registered.
- Participate in Family Service Sunday
- Late Fall 2020 (typically November) 1st Ritual of Restored Order
- Monday, February 1, 2021: Candidate’s certified baptismal record must be received
- Spring 2021 (typically March): 2nd Ritual of Restored Order
- Sacramental Recording Form DUE
- Sponsor Interview Synthesis DUE
- Late Spring/Summer 2021: Sacramental Ceremony and Rehearsal (this date is not yet confirmed by the Archdiocese)