For First Communion Parents

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The last few weeks have been dedicated to opening school, opening Adult Faith Formation, Opening Children's Faith Formation, and opening confirmation classes. The energy needed for Autumn is extraordinary.

Probably the one place that is the biggest trial here is First Communion. We have nine first communion celebrations in the spring, and in the past they have been like the spring gathering of the pagan hoarde. Many people in church behaved as if they were coming to a sporting event, and in some cases there was the question of whether the child was adequately prepared.

This year I decided that I needed to make some serious demands of the parents in the formation of their child. I am blessed with an excellent DRE and School principal who are supportive of my efforts. We cannot really make demands of the parents without offering them the resources. So this year we had the Daughters of St. Paul come by for a Sunday and set up their book store in our Faith Formation Office. They came back again for the meeting of First Communion parents and offered a great deal of Catholic Resources for parents and children.

We also gave a free copy of Catholic Truths for our Children to each family. We may actually build our First Year First Communion Program around that book. It is an absolutely stunning book and just what we needed for our Parents.

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Forgot to tell you....because we had a few "extra" books I have been sharing them with our Catechists. They, too, have been blown away by the accessibility of the book. Especially our newer Catechists who always feel a little inadequate (not that they should; after all, it's God who called them to this ministry, no?).

Yes I remember last year being at your First Communion Masses and being incredibly impressed with your willingness, as Pastor of the Church, to go out and put a stop to those answering cell phones, talking loudly, etc... It's sad that those things are happening, and of course they have to stop. But what really impressed me was that you were willing to step in and say something. Around here, the average Priest would just walk right by and think it was perfectly acceptable behaviour. You should come up here to Ontario and offer some advice to many of our Priests. They need it so much.


I've been a lay ecclesial minister for 11 years. My first ministry position was as Sacraments Coordinator for Children for the Catholic Community of Pleasanton and it was a very tough introduction to parish ministry. I am well aware of the kind of "spectator mentality" you describe during the First Communion celebrations. I agree that something should be said, but tact and diplomacy should not be thrown entirely to the winds. Spring gathering of the pagan horde? What happened to receiving each other as Christ? What happened to challenging rather than crushing the marginal Catholic? I wonder how a First Communion parent from a preceding year would feel about reading such a disdainful comment by their pastor.

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This page contains a single entry by Fr. Jeffrey Keyes, C.PP.S. published on September 29, 2006 10:44 AM.

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