“The Sacraments are truly the seven wonders of the spiritual world.
In the sacraments we come closest to God this side of heaven.
God in His mercy reaches out and touches the recipients of the sacraments in effective ways.
In them He meets you and me in a personal and intimate way.”
The basic duty of parents is to lovingly provide for the many and varied needs of their children. The most basic need of every person is to know the personal love of God for them. Above all, it is through the sacraments that God draws close to us. Just as parents provide for the physical needs of their children, so they ought also to provide for the spiritual needs of their children. With this loving motivation, Catholic parents present their children for the Sacrament of Baptism and accept the responsibility of raising their children in the practice of the Catholic faith. A key component of this responsibility is ensuring their children receive the other sacraments. Children who have received Baptism as infants customarily receive the Sacraments of Reconciliation (Confession), First Holy Communion (Eucharist), and Confirmation during their primary school years.
Reception of the sacraments requires substantial and structured preparation of the mind, heart and soul. The preparation of children for reception of the sacraments is primarily the responsibility of parents. Catholics schools provide the children in their care with supplementary preparation in the months leading up to the reception of each sacrament. Our parish offers sacramental preparation courses for children who do not attend Catholics schools.
St Bernard’s Sacramental Preparation Program for Children
Children who do not attend a Catholic school and who wish to receive the sacraments of Reconciliation, First Communion or Confirmation must attend the parish preparation program for each sacrament.
Children must have been validly baptised in the Catholic Church in order to be eligible for admission to our preparation programs for Reconciliation, First Communion or Confirmation. A copy of your child’s baptism certificate must be submitted to the Parish Office with the registration form and program fee.
St Bernard’s sacramental programs are for Catholic children living within the boundaries of our parish. Children who live in other parishes should prepare for and receive the sacraments in their own parish.
Children normally prepare for and receive Reconciliation in Grade 2, First Communion in Grade 3/4, and Confirmation in Grade 5/6. Children may receive the sacraments when they are older than the normal age but not when they are younger. A child may only participate in one sacramental preparation program per year.
Program Structure & Attendance Requirements
Each preparation program consists of approximately eight classes, an information session, a commitment Mass, and the Mass or service during which the Sacrament is administered. Parents attend the information session, commitment Mass, and celebration of the Sacrament. The parish priest and catechist(s) reserve the right to postpone the administration of a sacrament if parents or children do not meet the expected attendance requirements.
Some short homework tasks will be given to children at the end of each class, as well as points for reflection and discussion at home. Timely completion of these tasks is a non-negotiable component of the program.
The preparation programs for Reconciliation and First Communion are held in St Bernard’s Parish Centre, the hall adjacent to the church and carpark. The venue for the Confirmation preparation program alternates each year between St Bernard’s Parish Centre and St Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Melton South. St Bernard’s children who attend a Confirmation preparation program at St Anthony’s will still be able to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation at St Bernard’s.
We require a $100 fee per child per program prior to the commencement of each program. Failure to pay the program fee will render your child ineligible for admission to the program. The fee can be paid by EFTPOS or cash to the Parish Office. This fee contributes to the cost of a work-book, stole, certificate, resources and catechist wages.
Naim Chdid coordinates the sacramental programs for St Bernard’s. He can be contacted by phone or email at the Parish Office. Naim is sometimes assisted by the members of the Missionaries of Love and Peace, a religious community based in Greendale. All catechists are required to hold a valid Working With Children Check and to comply with the Child Safety standards outlined in the policies of the Archdiocese of Melbourne and St Bernard’s parish.
More Information & Expressions of Interest
For more information about our sacramental preparation programs or to register for a program please contact the Parish Office.