Our religious education includes the celebration of 2 sacraments. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is celebrated in grade 2 and the First Holy Communion is celebrated in grade 3.
Sacrament of Reconciliation
Students are taught of God’s unconditional love and forgiveness through the study of the Sacrament of Reconciliation in Grade 2. This is achieved through biblical stories, dramatization and group projects. Sister Jolisa also works in partnership with the parents by giving a faith formation meeting, in which they are given the highlights of the Sacrament, time to cultivate assurance/support that they are the primary influence of their child’s religious education and the encouragement to also receive the Sacrament as role models for their child.
The ceremony of the Sacrament of Reconciliation begins with an opening song, a biblical story of forgiveness, prayers of forgiveness and the hearing of confession for the children and parents. Before the conclusion of the ceremony, the students receive their certificates and a small memento as a remembrance of Jesus’s unconditional love and forgiveness on this first Reconciliation day. Students who are not of our faith are invited and welcomed to participate in the ceremony by bringing up flowers in the opening song.
Sacrament of Eucharist
Through the study of the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist, students learn the deeper meaning of Eucharist. They are taught that the bread and wine received in Holy Communion are the Body and Blood of Christ. By the manner in which we receive and in the way we live, we show reverence for Christ fully present in the Eucharist. The curriculum includes biblical stories and are compared to the celebration of Mass.
For example, the story of King David welcoming the Ark of the Covenant to Jerusalem is compared to when we gather with others to celebrate God’s presence at Mass. Another example, describes how the early Christians gathered to remember Jesus as today when we remember Jesus’ Last Supper.
Students also learn the parts of the Mass through practice and role play. Students are engaged through YouTube presentations on the Eucharist, Eucharistic projects and assessments. Sister Jolisa encourages parents in a First Eucharist meeting to be full participants at Mass, as they too, witness their own faith journey with their children. At the meeting, parents are encouraged to participate fully in their faith community, have time to share their own faith experiences and leave feeling confident that their Religion teacher works in partnership with them.
First Holy Communion Ceremony
The First Eucharist ceremony is a beautiful family celebration. Siblings of the first communicants bring up a rose to the statue of Mary. Classmates who are not of our Catholic faith are invited to participate by bringing up symbols of the Eucharist. Each family creates a Eucharistic banner that hangs on the altar rail. An altar cloth, with each child’s name, is made special by a group of mothers for this celebration, and brought up at the Offertory of the Mass. This extraordinary altar cloth is used again at their Eighth graduation Mass.
During the reception of First Communion, parents and or guardians present their child to the priest and receive Holy Communion as a family. The Notre Dame Academy choir sings beautiful Eucharistic songs and inspires the assembly to participate. This indeed is a special day to remember and celebrate the blessings of our good and provident God!