Sacraments are expressions of faith and essential to what it means to live as a Catholic Christian. Our sacrament preparation processes are created to be opportunities for children and parents to grow in faith and learn or deepen their understanding of the sacrament.
Immediate preparation for each sacrament is held at various times of the year. See the program calendar for specific dates and times.
Elementary Sacrament Preparation Processes
Sacrament preparation processes have a family lens where students and parents work closely together in all aspects of the process.
The Reconciliation Sacrament preparation process focuses on learning the Reconciliation Rite and understanding the difference between a sin, accident and mistake.
The Confirmation and First Communion preparation is done in the same process. The process prepares the children to understand the theology and liturgical rituals for each sacrament.
Youth Sacrament Preparation Processes
Sacrament preparation for Youth includes Reconciliation, Confirmation, and Communion. Check the Youth Calendar, bulletin, or parish office for the day and time of classes.
Prerequisites and requirements for Youth Sacrament Preparation:
- Excellent attendance in sacrament preparation process
- Regular attendance in FIRE or t.u.f.
- Mandatory retreat
- Service hours required
General Sacrament Preparation Guidelines
St. Thomas More’ Faith Formation and Sacrament Preparation are two separate processes.
At their child’s Baptism, parents agreed to be the primary educators of their child in the faith by word and example. Therefore, parents are expected to work in partnership with the Church to help their children prepare to celebrate the sacraments.
- It is the parent’s responsibility to be aware of sacrament preparation dates and process information. The Christian Formation Office will make every effort to communicate pertinent information via email, newsletters, bulletin and parish website.
- To participate in a sacrament preparation process complete involvement of the child and his/her parent(s) is mandated as required in each preparation process.
- Parents are primarily responsible for ensuring that their children/youth understand and learn all of the required information.
- All parent meetings incorporated into a sacrament preparation processes are mandatory. If a parent cannot attend, a delegate such as a grandparent, uncle, aunt, etc. may be sent to receive the necessary information.
To be adequately prepared to celebrate the sacraments, children and youth must attend Mass weekly.
The Eucharistic celebration is the ‘source and summit’ of our faith. At Mass “we participate in the Paschal Mystery of Christ, that is, in his dying and rising which is made present for us in the Eucharistic sacrifice.” (USCCA Ch 17) Through our participation in this paschal process, we are transformed with the bread and wine into the Body of Christ to bring Christ’s message of peace and love into the world.
Children and youth attending other denominational worship services as their primary place of worship indicates to us that your child is not ready to celebrate the sacraments.
Proof of Baptism
Proof of baptism is required and must be turned in at registration for a sacrament preparation process. No sacrament will be celebrated without proper proof of baptism as required by Canon Law.
Individuals baptized in an accepted non-Catholic Christian ecclesial community, must make a profession of faith prior to preparing for the Sacrament of Reconciliation; the first sacrament celebrated after Baptism.
Prerequisites for Sacrament Formation
Prior to beginning sacrament preparation all students must complete the following requirements which lay important foundations for sacrament preparation to build upon.
- Regularly attend Sunday Mass
- Have an age appropriate understanding of Catholic teachings and the scriptures
- Regular attendance at the monthly Parish Family Gatherings
- Have at least one year of religious education prior to enrollment in a sacrament preparation process.
General Sacrament Preparation Timeline
First Reconciliation Preparation. A child in his/her second year of family formation and in grades 2-5.
Confirmation and First Communion. A child in his/her third year of family formation and in grades 3-5 who has prepared for and celebrated their First Reconciliation Confirmation is always prepared for and celebrated along with First Communion.
- Attendance at sacrament preparation classes and activities is required.
- At St. Thomas More, sacrament preparation is separate process from Parish Family Formation process. Attendance at the Parish Family Gatherings is required.
- Sacrament preparation is not exclusively linked to any grade. Every effort is made to ensure that children and youth are prepared with their peers.
- There is no home schooling of sacrament preparation. Sacrament preparation only takes place at the parish.
Sacrament Preparation for Children in Sixth—Twelfth Grade
- Teens in grades 6-12 must complete a readiness discernment interview by the Youth Minister or her delegate to determine readiness and placement in a sacrament process.
- Upon discernment interview, students in grades 6-12 may be eligible to participate in more than one sacrament preparation process during a catechetical year as planned and directed by the Youth Minister.
- It is expected that students have continuous enrollment in Faith Formation and/or Youth Ministry as they prepare for the sacraments.
- If years have been skipped in grades 2-5, students may still only participate in one sacrament process per catechetical school year.
- Students who have poor attendance or drop out of Faith Formation classes after celebrating First Reconciliation may not be eligible for Confirmation/First Communion preparation the following catechetical year.
Elementary Sacrament Preparation does NOT take place in Grade-level Class Sessions
Preparing children and youth for sacraments is part of a student’s faith journey. It is meant to complement and enhance their ongoing faith development at the Family Formation Gatherings, FIRE, or t. u. f. and regular Sunday Mass attendance.
- Sacrament preparation does not take place during the regular Family Formation, FIRE, or tuf sessions.
- Children and youth must have excellent attendance at the monthly Family Formation Gatherings.
- There is no homeschooling process for sacrament preparation.
- Attendance at sacrament preparation sessions and parent meetings is required. Due to the concentrated curriculum, sports and extracurricular activities are not considered acceptable absences