First Holy Communion
The course of First Holy Communion preparation is for families who live and practice their Catholic faith in the parish of St John. On this basis and for this reason they ask the parish to help them with preparation for the Sacraments.
If you and your family do not practice your Catholic faith in our parish, please first begin living your sacramental life within our parish community. You can then ask for your child to be prepared for the Sacraments with us. After preparation you can ask for the Sacraments at any Catholic Church.
First Holy Communion Programme 2024
The closing date for applications was Thursday 31st August 2023; no further applications will be accepted under any circumstances. Late applicants can either choose to wait for the 2025 programme or approach another parish to join their programme.
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; , it comprises six sessions and it is imperative that children and parents attend each and every session.
For 2024 we will again be using the programme called ‘Growing up a Catholic’ which involves the help and support of parents.
Parents’ Meeting: An initial parents’ meeting will be held after 10:30 mass sometime in November. It is essential that you attend this meeting as it will be an opportunity to meet our team of volunteer Catechists. You will be able to ask any questions and learn about the programme.
Eligibility: We will accept children of parents who are registered, practicing members of St. John’s parish.
Faith Practice: Sunday Mass is at the heart of our spiritual life as a privilege and obligation, when we celebrate the Lord’s passion, death and resurrection. The celebration of First Holy Communion each year is primarily a parish community celebration. 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 2024 programme will be that they have commenced Year 3 in September 2023 ( aged 7 – 8 years). Some children may not be ready to participate and engage in everything that sacramental preparation requires, in which case it is quite acceptable to postpone until they are older.
Children’s Attendance: Parents must ensure that their children attend punctually all the preparation 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 sessions will have missed key catechesis. In such cases and after discussion with our Catechists I will invite parents to reapply for the 2025 programme. Sports events, parties and other such competing attractions must come second to attendance on the programme and 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 get in touch.
Costs: These are £40 per child. The parish purchases the children’s books and all the materials required to run the programme and we therefore need to make a charge. Cheques should be made payable to ‘The St John the Evangelist Catholic Parish, Tadworth. If this creates difficulty for you, then please speak to Father.
Baptism Certificate: We will need a copy of your child’s baptism certificate if they were baptised in another parish. We only need a copy so a photocopy will do.
Prayer Partner: At baptism you chose two or more godparents. For First Holy Communion we ask that you and the child choose a Parish Prayer Partner to take a special interest in the child on behalf of the community. The prayer partner 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 Holy Communion day itself. If this presents a real difficulty, then don’t worry too much – have a word with Father. 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. Stanislaw 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 the Parish Priest, 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 2024 reflect the new Regulation.
St. John The Evangelist Catholic Church
59 The Avenue, Tadworth,
Surrey KT20 5DB
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