For infant baptism, parishes are expected to provide catechetical preparation for parents, siblings, godparents and liturgical assemblies. This sacramental catechesis flows from the liturgical rite and draws on the signs and symbols used in the rite of baptism. Preparation should also include catechesis on the role of the Christian family and the rights and responsibilities that parents accept in presenting their child for baptism.
First reception of this sacrament typically takes place during the Advent season in any of the following ways:
• Individually at the regular parish worship.
• At a parish reconciliation service.
• At a special reconciliation service where families receive the sacrament together.
For individuals baptized in infancy, first Eucharist will ordinarily be received at the age of discretion, 7 years old, at a Sunday liturgy during the Easter season.
Catechesis for first Eucharist should emphasize the theology of Christian initiation, which links baptism, confirmation and Eucharist as one process incorporating one into a lifelong journey of conversion in faith.
The primary focus in preparing children for these sacraments of initiation should be spiritual formation.
As a result of the development of a new and comprehensive catechetical curriculum for grades prekindergarten through eighth grade, it has become obvious that the current practice for the reception of the sacrament of confirmation in the diocese be enhanced by a catechetical and pastoral model that will continue to advance and deepen the understanding of this life-giving sacrament for children, youth, young adults and adults.
As part of this enhancement of the catechetical and pastoral model of religious education,
the normative age for the reception of the sacrament of confirmation in the diocese is the approximate age of 13 (grade eight) by the 2017-18 catechetical year. The transition to this norm will be a gradual one and will allow for the education of the faithful concerning this contemporary catechetical and pastoral model to occur, while giving those in catechetical roles the time that is necessary to modify and adapt programming and develop new and revitalized formation processes.
This gradual process of implementation will initially involve those who will be in kindergarten, first grade, and second grade in the 2009-10 academic year. Separate liturgies for the reception of first Eucharist and the reception of the sacrament of confirmation, as supported by the recommendations of the Diocesan Strategic Planning Committee, will begin in the 2009-10 catechetical year. The parish priest will administer first holy Communion and the bishop will administer the sacrament of confirmation.