All First CommunicantsÂ from the four Catholic schools in St. Patrick's Parish participate in the 'Do This in Memory' preparation programme for First Eucharist.
The cornerstones of this programme are:
DO THIS IN MEMORY
We ask the Lord's blessing on all the children in our parish preparing for first Communion, on their families, teachers and on all who will help them to prepare for first Communion.
I was greatly encouraged at the parent's information evening by the impressive turn out by the guardians and parents who made the effort to come along and by the number who volunteered to take up a role at the various celebrations we have during the year. As well as this,Â two parents of children from each school generously offered to serve on the organising committee for the year. We had our first meeting recently and the enthusiasm of those in attendance was infectious.
As I was making the presentation to the parents and guardians that evening the importance of the role of parents came home to me. I was convinced myself by what I was saying - which always helps. The school does important work in helping children to prepare for first Communion. The work of the the teachers is indispensible. As a parish we are indebted to the work of all the teachers and all in our school communities who teach and care for, witness to and love the children preparing for first Communion. The prayer life, the community life and example of the parish community is also indispensible. However none of this can replace the role of family, parents and guardians.
We say that our God is a God of compassion and forgiveness. Where do we truly learn compassion and forgiveness if we do not learn it at home? The sacrament of reconciliation is a sacrament of God's forgiveness. We can preach about forgiveness at Sunday Eucharist in the parish, we can teach about forgiveness at school but if children do not experience forgiveness at home all that preaching and teaching could be in vain. The sacrament of first Communion is a sacrament of God's love and compassion. Again we can teach and preach about forgiveness but if children do not experience compassionate love at home they will never truly appreciate their first Holy Communion. St Paul said once that there is faith hope and love and the greatest of these is love. We could say that in preparation of children for first Commuion there is parish, school and family and the greatest of these is family.
In St Patrick's, school and parish is committed to supporting family. We thank the families of the children preparing for first Communion for being families of love and families of forgiveness and we encourage you to fully participate in the Do This In Memory programme by participating in the monthly Sunday celebration in St Nicholas Church at 10.30 am.
Fr. Mark O Hagan. Adm