Guidelines for students entering who have not yet received sacraments customary for their grade level
Theological rationale: In contrast to the old concept that the sacraments turn grace off and on somewhat like a water faucet controls the flow of water, we now keep in mind that God is always present and always pouring out His grace, His life upon us. The rituals of the sacraments help us remember that God is always there for us. In addition, the sacraments are not the only ways of growing in relationship to God. There are other means such as prayer, the reading of Scripture and other spiritual books, discussion of spiritual topics, caring for the sick and needy, etc. In other words, the whole context of life should be drawing us closer to God. Thus,students need also to grow in regular Christian living. Attending age-appropriate classes in addition to receiving instruction appropriate to the sacraments will help immerse them in community.
Particular situations and suggested guidelines:
a. Entering student has not yet been baptized – Student will join age -appropriate class and attend church. After adequate preparation, the student will then be referred to Deacon Steven Hayes for the reception of Baptism.
b. Entering student (third grade and above) is baptized but has not received First Reconcilation or First Communion - The student will join age-appropriate class and will attend church. After a minimum of several months, the student will then begin preparation for First Reconcilation. At least several months needs to be allotted for this preparation. After the student has made his/ her first confession, the student will then begin preparation for First Communion. Several months should also be allotted for this preparation.
c. Entering second grade child has no previous formal religious instruction - The regular second grade program with its’ preparation for two sacraments is intensive enough in itself. Students who have not been introduced in a formal way to basic religious concepts of our faith will need to do the introductory first grade material and will be tested on it.
d. Entering students who wish to receive Confirmation will need to have attended at least one year of high school religion if formal religious education was continued on the grade school level after preparation for First Communion. If the student has had no formal religious education since preparation for First Communion, that student will need to have two years of formal high school study. If there is a question as to how much background the student has, the student will be tested and supplemental material will be provided which the student will need to work on.
e. It is vitally important that the students are adequately prepared for the sacraments they are about to receive. This is not able to happen if by the week they are in and out of class. Students attending Confirmation classes may not miss more than 5 times for any reason or they will be expected to make up the missing classes in order to be eligible for Confirmation. Students preparing for First Reconciliation and First Communion may not miss more than 3 classes per sacrament or they will be expected to make up the missing classes in order to receive the sacrament.
5. Adjustments to these policies will be made if the entering student has parents currently in the RCIA program.