chris alcockChris Allcock, who heads the programme writes…

In 2016, the Archdiocese of Liverpool decided that children would receive the Sacraments of the Holy Eucharist and Reconciliation within the same school year Year 4. The Sacrament of Reconciliation would be received for the first time during Advent and then Holy Communion would be received during a celebration Mass. Confirmation will be available to the children in their teenage years.

To be ready to receive these Sacraments the children and their parents have to attend a series of sessions throughout the year. The responsibility of delivering these sessions fell to the Parish Catechists.

Our Parish’s timeline for the implementation of this programme of family catechesis has been slightly different to other parishes.

In the first year the programme was delivered by St. Oswald’s Primary school with one member of the current parish team being involved as an observer. In the second year we had a team in place and they delivered the programme with the support of the school in the school hall. In year 3 we moved the programme into the Canons’ Hall and onto a Sunday morning. This gradual process of implementation has enabled the parish team to build a strong working relationship with the primary school and we are very grateful for their continued support and involvement.

Fundamental to the programme is the belief that the parents are the best teachers of the children.

  At the beginning of session 1 each year a letter from the Archbishop is shared with the parents and the following are two of the paragraphs: –

“Dear Parents,

Thank you for being faithful to the promise you made when you brought your child to be baptised that you would make sure that baptism was the beginning of a journey

. Now you receive a new invitation to see fulfilled the blessing you received on that joyful day, to be the first and best teachers of your child in being a follower of Jesus, Our Lord. ……..” “……. Our Lord has been with you always. He has sent people among your friends, in the parish and in school, to assist your family as you follow Him.. He will send many to help you now. …”

There are 8 sessions from September to May and each session lasts approximately an hour. The September to November sessions provide opportunity for the children to develop understanding of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Then during Advent, the children are taken by their parents to receive the Sacrament for the first time.

The sessions from January to May focus on the Sacrament of the Eucharist, with the final session being an opportunity for the families to prepare for their celebration Mass.

Due to the large number of families involved each year-

this year there are 52 families, the team runs 2 sessions each month

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There are 7 team members, 2 of whom were initially involved as parents, and both Deacons also attend the sessions.

This year Fr. Brian has bought the team a display board and hopefully our displays, which you may have seen in church help you be more aware of our programme.