First Holy Communion Programme 2020

Key dates for the First Holy Communion programme will be available by September 2019. It is likely that the First Holy Communion day for 2020 will be Saturday 9 May.  Our new course this year is short with few meetings so it is imperative that children and parents attend each and every session.

First Holy Communion is a very special time in the life of every family and our parish aims to provide a first-class preparation course as well as a celebration that is both happy and memorable. It is a busy time as we prepare and we ask parents to help our volunteer Catechists as much as possible. Our course is shorter than most, so we really do expect the children to attend each of the sessions.

For 2020 we will again be using the programme called ‘Growing up a Catholic’ which involves the help and support of parents in a new way.

Parents' Meeting: An initial parents' meeting will be held after 10:30 mass on a Sunday in November. It is essential that you attend this meeting as it will be an opportunity to meet our team of our volunteer Catechists. You will be able to ask any questions and learn about the programme.

Eligibility: Convenience of First Holy Communion preparation sessions will of course be important to most families. However, it is sad when parents who are full and regular members of our parish opt to have a child prepare for and receive First Holy Communion in another parish. On our side we will accept children of parents who are regular members of the St. John’s parish irrespective of where they live. However, children of parents who are regular or even irregular members of another parish will require their own parish priest to sign the form attached to the application form.

Faith Practice: The expectation of the parish and Fr. Richard is that First Holy Communion families will be at Mass every week. Since the celebration of First Holy Communion each year is primarily a parish community celebration, there is naturally some expectation that the family are practicing members of the community. On this understanding, the parish will give every help to parents and children, particularly those children not attending Catholic schools. The support of parents for this and other elements of the course cannot be emphasised enough. Parents will also be expected to attend a number of parents' meetings during the programme.

Age: The minimum age for children to be accepted on the programme will be that they have commenced Year 3 in September 2019. We will accept children in Years 4, 5 & 6 but the course is essentially designed for Year 3 children.

Children’s Attendance: Parents must ensure that their children attend punctually all the preparations classes which take place on a number of Sundays leading up to the First Holy Communion Mass. No child will be denied First Holy Communion, however, children who miss two or sessions will have missed key catechesis. In such cases and after discussion with our Catechists I will invite parents to reapply for the 2021 programme. Sports events, parties and other such competing attractions must come second to the programme and a regular attendance of Mass during the First Holy Communion year. We treat this seriously and hope that you will as well. Naturally things happen in life so if there is a genuine emergency then please be in touch.

Costs: These are relatively light – just £25 per child. You will appreciate that the parish needs to purchase the children’s books and all the materials needed to run the programme and therefore we need to make a charge. Cheques should be made payable to ‘The St John the Evangelist Catholic Parish, Tadworth. If this is a difficult, then please have a quiet word with Fr. Richard.

Baptism Certificate: We will need a copy of your child’s baptism certificate. If the baptism took place at St. John’s, please e-mail the parish office and request a copy. Please give the name of the child and the date of baptism. If the baptism took place at another parish then you will need to obtain the certificate from that parish. We only need a copy so a photocopy will do.

Prayer Partner: This is fairly new! At baptism you chose two or more godparents. For First Holy Communion we ask that you and the child choose a Parish Prayer Guide to take a special interest in the child on behalf of the community. The guide can be anybody – a godparent, a friend or a parishioner. Little is asked other than the person pray for the child and take a close interest. There is no need for the person to help out with the classes, however, he or she should be present for the big events – First Confession and the day itself. If this presents a real difficulty, then don’t worry too much – have a word with Fr. Richard. Also look around the congregation. There may be someone who would be honoured and delighted to take on such a role.

Communication: Most communication will be by e-mail but keep an eye on the newsletter and on our  website.

Issues, Complaints and Suggestions: No course is perfect. Please remember that the team is made up of volunteers and so should be respected especially in terms of time and availability to answer questions. In the past late night phone calls, angry e-mails and confrontations have left some of our people quite battered and dispirited. I am sure that you will be sensitive and raise matters of concern appropriately with Fr. Richard or the programme Administrator in a polite and constructive manner. Indeed, we will be keen for suggestions as to how we can improve our programme of preparation.

Safeguarding: In our parish there are no ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ – we comply 100% with Diocesan and national safeguarding laws and guidelines. All our Catechists including Fr. Richard are DBS cleared. We also have a robust Safeguarding team in the parish.

GDPR: As with Safeguarding we comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (2018). Application forms for 2020 reflect the new Regulation.