Preparation for 1st Confession & Communion Ceremonies: Practical tips that 1st time teachers might find useful. Part Three

inside confessional
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Please note: This post is about preparing for the ceremonies

of First Confession and Communion

as opposed to faith formation and learning during the year.

 

I notice a significant numbers of visitors to this blog

are looking for information about preparation

for these ceremonies, hence this post.

 

Though the children will make their confession

on the altar, as part of their preparation,

I show the children the confession box

and explain that their grandparents

and perhaps parents made

their first confession in the confession box.

Teacher certainly did.

 

I sit in the priest’s compartment

and one by one they come into the side compartment.

It’s dark, they shut the door and it is an adventure for them.

 

I tell them about the anecdote in Frank O’ Connor’s

short story ‘My First Confession’ where the young hero

tries to kneel up on the arm rest!

Candles of Prayer
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We’ll also light candles another day.

The children really enjoy those two activities.

 

Then leaving nothing to chance,

I acquire that new year’s leaflet

in advance of the ceremony

and customize a copy for the priest,

writing in the names of the children

that he can call them up for their readings or prayer.

 

I used type out the prayers/readings

for each child and laminate them.

Now I prefer to have one laminated A3 sheet

with all readings/prayers/songs

on the lectern and we use this in every

practice. On the day the children are used

to using it.

Taking no chances I have a duplicate of this

in case it gets mislaid.

 

Art – Name Plates 

Each child decorates a card with their name,

which goes on the seat that they are assigned to.

 

I code the back of these: writing on the R for right

and L for left i.e. to the right of the aisle/to the left

and the number seat the child is in.

 

Otherwise I am constantly check the ‘master list’

to check where I should be putting the cards,

and mistakes can be made.

 

I collect up these name plates after the First Confession

and use them again for First Communion.

Lumen Christi
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Wall Hangings

We do two wall hangings for either side of the church

with all children having a part to play in their composition.

This saves having to hang forty or so pictures

separately in the church. This work is integrated with

art. Making them can be time consuming.

 

Of course after all that practicing it can happen

that the children are so excited on the morning

that all the preparation goes out the window.

That is when I am particularly thankful that

we have the support of the older children in the choir.

Let Jesus Fix it For You
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Parts One and Two of this topic here

and here.

There are great prayer resources here MargD Teaching Posters

Preparation for 1st Confession & Communion Ceremonies: Practical tips that 1st time teachers might find useful. Part Two

Please note: This post is about preparing for the ceremonies

of First Confession and Communion

as opposed to faith formation and learning during the year.

 

Quite a  number of visitors to this blog

are looking for information about preparation

for these ceremonies, hence this post.

 

If it is your first time preparing a communion class

you might find helpful ideas here.

 

How does one prepare for the First Confession ceremony?

I ‘role play’ being the priest. The children are introduced

to me by other children pretending to be the parent(s)

 The Holy Family in Nazareth
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I’ll talk to the class about who’ll bring them up

and talk about ‘different kinds of families’.

 

I’ll get them very familiar with what to say

when they go up to the priest.

 

We also talk at length about

‘the examination of conscience’

and what they could say to the priest

about the ‘times they did not show love’.

 

But we never ‘practice’ these

‘times they did not show love’.

I advise the parents to talk to them

about what they could tell the priest

with them at home also so they know

what they will say when the time comes

The Good Shepherd 35 CMB - Cicely Mary Barker
Photo Credit: Waiting For The Word via Compfight 

What about seating?

Traditionally, where I teach,

children sit with their families.

 

In other schools the children sit up the front

with their families sitting behind.

 

Some schools include a ‘service of light’ with candles

in the First Confession ceremony.

 

We have a choir from third and fourth to

support the children making their confession

and communion.

 

I allocate seating according to the job a child is doing

so that for example the children saying the first prayer

are sitting across the aisle from each other

and walk up together when their time comes.

Then we’ll book the church for two

perhaps three rehearsals.

IMG_5180
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The children may need to be taught

– how to genuflect towards the tabernacle,

and how to behave in church;

– how to bless themselves

with holy water on the way in,

– and not to kneel up on the seat

and look behind them.

 

Walking up the middle aisle

and down the side will need practice

as parents are inclined to turn around

and walk back the way they came.

This can be disconcerting for the children.

 

They will also need to learn how to receive

the host properly in their hands.

Our parish office provide us with a box

of unconsecrated hosts in the week before

Communion and we practice with these.

 

Parts One and Three of this topic here

and here.

Excellent prayer resources and visuals here: MargD Teacher Posters

Preparation for 1st Confession & Communion Ceremonies: Practical tips that 1st time teachers might find useful. Part One

The Good Shepherd 41
Photo Credit: Waiting For The Word via Compfight

Please note: This post is about preparing for the ceremonies

of First Confession and Communion

as opposed to faith formation and learning during the year.

 

I notice a significant numbers of visitors to this blog

are looking for information about preparation

for these ceremonies, hence this post.

 

If it is your first time preparing a communion class

you might find helpful ideas here.

 

How long does preparation take?

This will vary depending on a number of factors,

for example;

– the teacher,  

– the school ethos and traditions

– and the number of children in class

that are not making communion.

 

I find if I take time during religion class over a month

that is plenty in order to prepare for each ceremony.

If you over rehearse, the children will become jaded.

 

What prayers do the children need to learn?

Prayers can include the:

– Act of Sorrow

– Prayer for Forgiveness

– Prayer after Forgiveness

– Our Father

– Mass responses

– Confiteor

– Prayers before Communion

– Prayers after Communion

 

There are GREAT resources on

the Seomra Ranga website:

including a First Confession,

First Penance booklet.

Scroll down this link to Seomra Ranga.com 

to see what is available.

Double check that you have the correct format

of ‘The Confiteor’ and mass responses

as they have changed.

 

Every year, we collect up the booklets

at the end of the ceremony and store them,

for use with preparing the class, the following year.

 

If you go over the full ceremony once

to give the children an overview,

then you can practice it piecemeal over time.

A Hymn
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How else can you involve the children ?

I ask for children to volunteer to sing,

do a reading or say a prayer.

I  assign them these jobs in pairs

so that the children can give one another back up.

For example I can pair, a more confident child

with a less confident one.

 

At both ceremonies the children go up on the altar

and say the Our Father with actions so we practice these.

 

Parts Two and Three of this topic  

here and here.

Finally great eye catching visuals for prayers here

on this great blog:  MargD Teacher Posters