The occasion of a child's first Holy Communion is a wonderful opportunity for parents to deepen and reinvigorate their own faith. It can also be a graced moment of renewal for the broader parish community.
The celebration of first Holy Communion within the diocese is organised on a parochial basis where every parish and school organises its own dates. The celebration of the first Holy Communion normally happens during the Easter season, in April or May. The date for the celebration of First Communion is circulated by the school early in the school year.
Do This in Memory is a parish-based programme of preparation for First Communion centred in the parish celebration of the Sunday Eucharist and in the home. The programme takes place once a month for eight months before First Eucharist and concludes during the parish celebration of the feast of Corpus Christi.
The Diocesan Pastoral Outreach Centre is happy to help parishes to prepare for first Holy Communion day in a way that will bear lasting fruit, and can advise parishes who are launching the Do This in Memory programme for the first time. We can also provide a supplementary programme for parishes that want to offer parents a chance to deepen their understanding of the faith and to integrate it with good parenting skills. For more information please contact Rev. Gerard McCarthy at 091 565066 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Further information can be obtained from your local parish.
Diocesan policy is designed to ensure that our celebrations of first Holy Communion are faith-filled celebrations for the child, the family and the wider community. This policy will support parents as they try to live out the solemn promises they made at their child's baptism. Each September, the parents of children who wish to make their first Holy Communion will be required to make a formal request to their parish priest in that regard, using a standard enrolment form. They will be asked to provide a copy of their child’s baptism certificate. Parents will be asked to commit themselves to full participation in the related parish-based faith development programmes as a condition of acceptance.
What is Do this in Memory?
Do This in Memory is a parish-based programme of preparation for first Holy Communion centred in the parish celebration of the Sunday Eucharist and in the home. The programme resources are designed to facilitate parents, families and the parishes’ active involvement in the preparation for the sacrament. It complements and supports the work of sacramental preparation in the parish school or the religious education programme in the parish. The programme takes place once a month for eight months before first Eucharist and concludes during the parish celebration of the feast of Corpus Christi.
The Co-ordinator's Manual includes:
— Liturgical guidelines for each Sunday of the programme
— Homily notes
— Text of Sunday readings
— Post-Communion reflections
— Liturgical guidelines for the celebration of First Eucharist
— PowerPoint presentation and notes for the initial meeting with parents.
The following elements can also be found in the Coordinator’s Manual:
INSERTS FOR PARISH NEWSLETTERS — as a way of connecting the wider parish community and particularly other children to the First Eucharist preparation, there are a series of short inserts for Parish Newsletters entitled ‘Learning about the Mass with Kath and Qumen’. There are 36 of these short inserts which can be placed in the parish bulletin beginning on the weekend of Enrolment Sunday and continuing on a weekly basis until the programme is finished. The text of these can be found in Appendix 4 of the Coordinator’s Manual. This text is also on the CD-ROM that accompanies the manual. The files on the CD-ROM can be copied and pasted by the person who is responsible for producing the parish newsletter.
THUMB — That's His/Her Useful Mass Book
This book provides material which helps parents and children engage with the programme before, during and after Mass. THUMB contains the following:
An Introduction to Do This in Memory, including a Guide for Parents that suggests ways they might use the programme most effectively.
'What Happens at Mass?' This exploration of the Mass is led by two cartoon characters, Kath and Qumen, who are also preparing for their First Eucharist. Through questions, observations and comments they help the children and their parents learn more about the Sunday Celebration.
The Rite of Mass: this section contains all the prayers and responses of the Mass. It will help parents and children to participate more fully in the celebration of the Eucharist.
Kidstuff: the final section of THUMB contains nine activity sheets to be completed at home after each Sunday of the programme.
GRAPEVINE NEWSLETTERS — there are eight Grapevine Newsletters which are distributed to the families preparing for First Eucharist after each Do This in Memory Mass. Together with THUMB the Grapevine helps parents to engage more fully with the programme at home. It includes the text for the Gospel of the next Sunday of the programme, suggestions for family prayer and the creation of a family prayer space.
Do This in Memory is published by Veritas and is available from www.veritas.ie