First Holy Communion 2018

The parish is preparing for the 2018 First Holy Communion Programme. If you are a parent with a child entering Year 3 in September then this is for you. Our parish aims to give those who apply for the programme the very best course that we can give so that the children are ready for this important celebration in their journey of faith. The following guidelines set out some important markers as to what to expect.

1. Parents Meeting. So that we can get to know everybody an initial first parent’s meeting will be held on Sunday 3rd December at 11h30 in the church while the children will be meeting the catechists in St. John’s Hall which will also be the venue for the children’s session. It is essential that you attend this meeting as it will be an opportunity to meet our team of Catechists (all volunteers). You will be able to ask any questions that you may have and learn about the programme your child will be following. It will also be useful to you as it will help you understand your own role in the process. The meeting will last from 45 minutes to an hour. There will be 2 additional shorter briefing meetings to go through the First Confession service and to explain what to expect from the rehearsal day.

2. Important Dates. More details about the ceremony will, of course, be given to you nearer the time but key unmissable dates for the 2018 diary are:
 Saturday 10 March – First Reconciliation (First Confession)
 Saturday 12 May – Celebration of First Holy Communion
 Sunday 20 May – Going Forth Parish Mass

3. Eligibility. Convenience of First Holy Communion preparation sessions will of course be important to most families as they struggle to fit everything in. However, it is sad when parents who are full and regular members of our parish opt to have a child prepare for and receive First Holy Communion in another parish. On our side we will accept children of parents who are regular members of the St. John’s parish irrespective of where they live. However, children of parents who are regular or even irregular members of another parish will require their own parish priest to sign the form attached to the application form.

4. Faith Practice. The real expectation of the parish and FR. Richard is that First Holy Communion families will be at Mass every week. Since the celebration of First Holy Communion each year is primarily a parish community celebration there is naturally some expectation that the family are practicing members of the community. On this understanding the parish will give every help to parents and children particularly those children not attending Catholic schools. The support of parents for this and other elements of the course cannot be emphasised enough. To this end parents will also be expected to attend a number of parent’s meetings during the programme as mentioned above.

5. Age. The minimum age for children to be accepted on the programme will be that they have commenced Year 3 in September 2017. We will accept children in Years 4, 5 & 6 but the course is essentially designed for Year 3 children.

6. Children’s Attendance. Regarding attendance parents must ensure that their children attend punctually all the preparations classes which take place on a number of Sundays leading up to the First Holy Communion Mass. No child will be denied First Holy Communion however, children who miss two or sessions will have missed key catechesis. In such cases and after discussion with our Catechists I will invite parents to reapply for the 2019 programme. Sports events, parties and other such competing attractions must come second to the programme and a regular attendance of Mass during the First Holy Communion year. We treat this seriously and hope that you will as well. Naturally things happen in life so if there is a genuine emergency then please be in touch.

7. Costs. These are relatively light – just £25 per child. You will appreciate that the parish needs to purchase the children’s books and all the materials needed to run the programme and therefore we need to make a charge. Cheques should be made payable to ‘The St John the Evangelist Catholic Parish, Tadworth. If this is a difficult, then please have a quiet word with Fr. Richard.

8. Baptism Certificate. We will need a copy of your child’s baptism certificate. If the baptism took place at St. John’s, please e-mail the parish office and request a copy. Please give the name of the child and the date of baptism. If the baptism took place at another parish then you will need to obtain the certificate from that parish. We only need a copy so a photocopy will do.

9. Parish Partner. At baptism you chose two or more god parents. For First Holy Communion we ask that you and the child choose a Parish Prayer Guide to take a special interest in the child on behalf of the community. The guide can be anybody – a god parent, a friend or a parishioner. Little is asked other than the person pray for the child and take a close interest. There is no need for the person to help out with the classes or anything else however, he or she should be present for the big events – First Confession and the day itself. If this presents a real difficulty, then don’t worry too much – have a word with Fr. Richard. Also look around the congregation. There may be someone who would be honoured and delighted to take on such a role.

10. Communication. Most communication will be by e-mail but keep an eye on the newsletter and on our upgraded website that has its launch in September. Meanwhile the old one will have most of the important information.

11. Issues, Complaints and Suggestions. No course is perfect! Please remember that the team is made up of volunteers and so should be respected especially in terms of time and availability to answer questions. In the past late night phone calls, angry e-mails and confrontations have left some of our people quite bettered and dispirited. I am sure that you will be sensitive and raise matters of concern appropriately with FR. Richard or the programme Administrator in a polite and constructive manner. Indeed, we will be keen for suggestions as to how we can improve our programme of preparation.

12. Safeguarding. In our parish there are no ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ – we comply 100% with Diocesan and national safeguarding laws and guidelines. All our Catechists including Fr. Richard are DBS cleared. We also have a robust Safeguarding team in the parish. As the Americans say, “period”.

DATES FOR THE FIRST HOLY COMMUNION PROGRAMME 2018

Session Date
Children enrolment session 3-Dec
Parents welcome meeting – 11.30am 3-Dec
Session 1 – A Very special gift and enrolment mass 14-Jan-18
Session 2 – The Gift of Baptism 21-Jan-18
Session 3 – The Gift of God’s word and prayer 28-Jan-18
Session 4 – The Gift of friendship and the Gift of Forgiveness + short service of penitence in mass 25-Feb-18
Session 5 – The Gift of peace and reconciliation 4-Mar-18
Parents briefing – first confession session with parents (9.15am + 11.30pm) 4-Mar-18
Session 6 – Service for children and parents – First confession – 10.30am 10-Mar-18
FHC session on mother’s day 11-Mar-18
Session 7 – the Greatest Gift – how it all started! A celebration of the Last Supper 18-Mar-18
Session 8 – The Gift of Joy and preparation for the First Holy Communion 22-Apr-18
Parents briefing – FHC rehearsals briefing 22-Apr-18
Session 9 – Rehearsals for FHC 28-Apr-18
FHC day 12-May-18
Going forth mass 20-May-18

Please click the link below to download and print the enrolment form.

First Holy Communion Enrolment-2018