SACRAMENTS

We recognize that the Sacraments have a visible and invisible reality, a reality open to all the human senses but grasped in its God-given depths with the eyes of faith. When parents hug their children, for example, the visible reality we see is the hug. The invisible reality the hug conveys is love. We cannot “see” the love the hug expresses, though sometimes we can see its nurturing effect in the child.

The visible reality we see in the Sacraments is their outward expression, the form they take, and the way in which they are administered and received. The invisible reality we cannot “see” is God’s grace, his gracious initiative in redeeming us through the death and Resurrection of his Son. His initiative is called grace because it is the free and loving gift by which he offers people a share in his life, and shows us his favor and will for our salvation. Our response to the grace of God’s initiative is itself a grace or gift from God by which we can imitate Christ in our daily lives.

The saving words and deeds of Jesus Christ are the foundation of what he would communicate in the Sacraments through the ministers of the Church. Guided by the Holy Spirit, the Church recognizes the existence of Seven Sacraments instituted by the Lord. They are the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist), the Sacraments of Healing (Reconciliation and the Anointing of the Sick), and the Sacraments at the Service of Communion (Marriage and Holy Orders). Through the Sacraments, God shares his holiness with us so that we, in turn, can make the world holier.

Programs for the reception of the Sacraments of First Reconciliation, First Eucharist and Confirmation are Parish-based and run in conjunction with Sacred Heart School and the School of Religion.

Registration for each of the Sacramental Programs occur a few weeks before the corresponding Sacrament. It will be advertised on this website, in school newsletters and in the parish bulletin. Please contact the Parish office on 6286 1908 in the meantime.

Family-Based Sacramental Program

Parish Family-based Sacramental Programs allow parents and the parish to be more involved with the children’s Sacramental preparation – in line with current Church teaching (called Catechesis). The schools continue to provide Religious and Sacramental instruction (Religious Education). Religious instruction centres on the heart, while Sacramental instruction centres on mind, enabling all of us in our faith journey to step beyond just taking part in sacramental events and to reach a fuller understanding of WHAT we are participating in, so that we may willingly present ourselves as witnesses to Christ in the wider society.

The main purpose of such Programs, therefore, is to encourage greater participation of parents in the sacramental formation of their children, with the prayerful support of the Parish community. The family-based program does NOT supersede the religious instruction given to children at Catholic schools or through the School of Religion. It is, rather, complementary to it.

The principles of the Program are as follows:

  1. the basic preparation of the children always belongs within the family unit because the family is the principal educator and nurturer of their children’s faith.
  2. the formal preparation lies with the Parish Schools or School of Religion, at the parents’ request.
  3. the immediate preparation has the Parish join with the parents in preparing the children because the Sacraments are vital and basic to the life and being of any Parish community.
What are the practical implications for parents?

The program is different for each of the Sacraments but, as a rough guide:

  1.  parents attend an information meeting
  2.  parents and children join in three or four sessions of preparation in the Church
  3. attendance at Mass on a designated weekend for Presentation to the Parish community.

Many parents involved in the programs have found that the commitment was not as time-consuming as it first appeared and it was a very special time with their child. It also made the celebration of the sacraments a very personal and enjoyable experience for the whole family.The process of preparation begins early in the school year when the Parish Priest advises families who are of an appropriate age or year level to receive the Sacraments during the year via the church bulletin, school newsletters and notice to School of Religion candidates. Enrolment forms are provided online before each Sacrament, and Parents attend a Parent Information Night for the designated Sacrament. Then the children along with family and friends to attend a special Presentation Mass where the Candidates are presented to the Parish.

At the appropriate time before a particular Sacrament is to be received, a parent information evening is held to fully prepare the parents for the program which will follow. Facilitators will assist at the sessions.The Program tends to greatly enhance Parish community as families from the various Catholic schools work together with those from the Government schools. Meanwhile, the Parish community gets to know the younger parishioners better as the children come forward during their preparation to be presented at Masses, and to receive token gifts and prayers from the community. At the end of the preparation period, the Sacramental and Liturgy teams do their best to ensure reception of the Sacraments takes place in an atmosphere of special liturgical celebration that lives on in the memories of the young people.

“Children with their irrepressible sense of celebration are the springtime of the family and of society” (John Paul II)

Contact the Parish Office on 02 6286 1908 or mhocsacraments@gmail.com