The following information was sent in early December 2021 to families who will be participating in preparing for the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist in 2022:
Hello Families and Children,
We hope this finds you all healthy and well! We are ready to invite your children to begin preparing for the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist in the winter and spring of 2022.
At St. Matthew the Evangelist Parish, we encourage two years of Faith Formation prior to receiving these Sacraments, in order to have a good foundation of faith. Receiving the Body of Christ for the first time is a major milestone in our Catholic faith. When we receive Jesus in the Eucharist (Communion), we are becoming one with God because it is the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and not only a symbol. To prepare ourselves to receive Eucharist, we also prepare for and receive the sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession, Penance) prior to receiving one’s first Eucharist.
To help your children prepare for these Sacraments, we will be hosting workshops in late winter (February/early March) for them to participate and learn about these sacraments and their importance in our faith. There will be separate workshops for each sacrament and each will last two hours. We will ask that a parent participate with their child during these workshops.
At this time, we do not have definitive dates of the workshops, but will provide that information in future communications.
Given that some of our families may not be comfortable attending workshops with the pandemic, we will be offering some alternative forms of preparation that are still being developed at this time. Participation in an in-person preparation or formation event will not be required to receive a sacrament, however, sacraments are only to be received through in-person experiences (one cannot experience the sacraments of Reconciliation or Eucharist virtually).
In the past, we have asked families to complete sacramental preparation materials in addition to the workshops. Feedback received have indicated that these materials were redundant to the Seekers (grades 1-2) faith formation materials. While we will not be expecting children to complete a distinct curriculum as part of their sacramental preparation, there may be additional preparation pieces in addition to the workshops or their virtual counterparts.
Regarding the scheduling of First Reconciliation, we will have an online sign up for your child to have an appointment with one of our priests, during a block of time when we will be offering First Reconciliation. This will likely be on a Saturday and/or weeknight in March.
Regarding the scheduling of First Eucharist, we will allow you to choose a weekend Mass with an online sign up. These will take place between Easter and June. We will have up to six children receiving First Eucharist at any given Mass. We will have one pew reserved for your child and family/friends at the front of the church. When it is time to receive Eucharist, the First Eucharist children will receive first and then the remaining parishioners will receive. Pictures may be taken with the priest after mass.
Important note: we will contact you if we are missing baptism information for your child. They will not be permitted to receive sacraments until we have seen a copy of their baptismal certificate. If your child was baptized outside of the Catholic Community of Billerica, kindly send us a copy of that baptismal certificate – a picture or scan sent electronically will be sufficient.
Please stay tuned for future communication giving you dates of the workshops, the links to sign up for the reception of First Reconciliation and First Eucharist, and additional information.
Thank you and God Bless,
Karyn Moody, Coordinator of Children’s Ministries (x444)
Tony Carbrello, Director of Youth Faith Formation (x445)
St. Matthew the Evangelist Parish
“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” -Proverbs 22:6