Over the last couple year’s I have had an increasing number of older children who need to be prepared for Sacraments.  There are various reasons why a child had not been prepared at the traditional time but the most common is the parents fell away from the practice of the faith for a period of time and they are ready to begin again.  What a wonderful thing – beginning again!  It is very exciting to help prepare children, especially through their parents.

The following attempts to describe the average parish situation:

1) If a child is past the 2nd grade and has not received Reconciliation or Eucharist then they come to the parish seeking direction on what they need to do.

2) Parishes seem to do the following:  a) they recommend that the student enroll in the Religious Education Program and the studentsattends the specific grade level class that they are in at school.  b) Some parishes have a special sacramental preparation program that meets on a regular basis (once a week, every other week, or once a month) outside of the class they are already attending.   c)other parishes have a one or two year Christian Initiation Program for Children (also known as CIC or RCIC).  This Program not only meets on a regular basis but it follows the Rite of Christian Initiation promulgated by the Second Vatican Council.  This rite came about as a result of the call for the renewal of the 4th Century Catechumenate.

3) My thoughts: The pastoral issue regarding Christian initiation for children is interesting, because Christian Initiation for Children is ideal but not easy to implement.  In addition, there is not a lot of martial available which provides the necessary curriculum for a separate”class” or “session” for these students.  Currently I meet with the parents and give them material to help them prepare their child for the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist.  Most of the students who need to be “caught up to speed” are in our School of Religion Program in their particular grade level class.  The parents are helping prepare them for the reception of the sacraments at home.

I continue to seek input for others on what they are doing to help prepare children who are receiving the Sacraments of Baptism, Reconciliation and Eucharist at non-traditional times.