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
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Werner Kunz via Compfight

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
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Ben Leto via Compfight

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
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Lawrence OP via Compfight

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.

Photo Credit: James Bradley via Compfight

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 resources online e.g from

Click HERE and scroll down to the end of the page

for two useful links.

Double check that you have the correct format

of ‘The Confiteor’ and mass responses

for your diocese as they can vary.


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
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Kevin Labianco via Compfight

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

We Made Our 1st Holy Communion

We did it! On Saturday 18th May, we made our 1st Holy Communion.


We would like to thank Father Liam, Father Denis and Father Owen,

Sadie and Mary in the sacristy,

Paul our parish worker

and our teachers and families.


We had prepared carefully for many months.

Our grown ups were very busy getting us ready too.

We woke very early that morning and we were very excited.


Family and friends came from as far away as

Australia to help us celebrate.

It was a very special moment when we received 1st Holy Communion.

Rebecca said that it brought us one step further along our journey to God.

Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Raul Lieberwirth via Compfight


A podcast of The Prayer of the Faithful that is said ‘as Gaeilge’ at the 1st Communion Mass.

This podcast is to help you practice the correct pronunciation

of the Prayer of the Faithful that is said in Irish

at the 1st Communion ceremony (Niamh & Shane).

You will be practicing this for homework this week.

Though you are very good already,

this might give you even more confidence.

I Say A Little Prayer For You...
Creative Commons License Photo Credit: Christine via Compfight

Guimíd i gcóir ár gclann go léir.

Beannaigh ‘iad a Dhia agus coimead ‘iad

go slán sabháilte.

A Thiarna éist linn.

All: A Thiarna bí ceansa agus éist linn.

Preparing for Our First Confession.

When we were preparing for our 1st Confession,

we took a look at the confession boxes in our church.


We heard that long ago our grandparents and some of our parents

would have been to confession in the confession box.


We saw where the priest would sit.

Then we went back in time and went into the confession box.

We liked it. It was quiet and peaceful in there.

Teacher told us about the story of

‘The First Confession’ by Frank O’Connor,

where the little boy in the story knelt up

on the arm rest in the box at his First Confession.


“It must have been then that I noticed the shelf

at about one height with my head.

It was really a place for grown-up people to rest their elbows,

but in my distracted state I thought it was probably

the place you were supposed to kneel.”


This made us laugh.

We thought that was a funny thing to do!

Look! We are on the Parish Website

Saying Thanks

The children’s contributions to the parish website was updated

with a podcast of thank you prayers.

Quite sensibly Grannies, Grandads and chocolate all get a mention 🙂

Well done 2nd Class Room 6, you sound great on the Parish Website.

Click on the link below to hear the class singing ‘Away in a Manger’.

Greetings from 2nd Class, Room 6 this Christmas

First Communion In Our Parish… And Around The World

We are preparing for our First Holy Communion in May.

Fiona’s Dad, Dale, very kindly created a slide show for us. It shows children from all over the world celebrating their First Communion:

In ways these children are the same as us and in ways they are different, but we are all on the same ‘faith journey’.

Remember our next ‘Do It In Memory of Me’ Mass is on Sunday 28th October 2012.

In other news 2nd Class Room 6 has become just a little bit famous:

Share the experience of our faith journey on the Parish Website

We will be making more contributions to this website as our ‘faith journey’ progresses.

There is lots of information about the ‘Do It In Memory of Me’ Programme on the parish website also.
This includes the dates of the masses.

‘Do This In Memory of Me’ Programme

For those who have children making their 1st Holy Communion


As parents we want the best for our children. We try our very best to help the whole child to grow. Spiritual growth is part of this.

Relationships are important in all our lives. A relationship with our friend and brother Jesus, God Our Father, Mary Our Mother will stand to our children in their future, perhaps in stressful times, that may be ahead of them, (worries, disappointments, difficult decisions they may have to make) when we might not be around.

A one-to-one trust in the Lord and the support of our friends in the parish does help in difficult times.

Our Church
The church can be a very quiet and peaceful space where we can go to have time to get away from it all, – to think and to talk to God. In our busy lives, a quiet place to go to think is important.

Jesus is our friend! I say to the children supposing you had a friend you never saw or never talked to or never went to visit. What would happen to that friendship?

At other times, say on a Sunday the church is a busy place – where we gather together with our friends and family and neighbours to honour God. Going to church can be there for us all our lives – when we need a quiet place or we need our friends around us.

Religion observances in school and at home can provide your child with something similar – quiet times – and celebrations and a feeling of togetherness.

Some suggestions as to how you might prepare your child for their Communion

Ideally this is something that has already been happening in your house with perhaps

– an evening prayer as part of the ‘wind down’ at bedtime,

– visits to the church, and lighting a candle.

And if it hasn’t – not to worry – now is as good a time as any to start!

If your child has a particular interest – say in a football team, books, magazines, maybe the strip is bought. Children become absolute experts on the team members, who the manager is, what their home ground is, place in league table etc. etc.

So perhaps you could encourage your child in their faith in a similar way. Talk to them about it. Why not read your child some bible stories at bedtime!

I find in class that the children love the Old Testament Stories and the Miracles of Jesus. Often you will find simple inexpensive books for children for sale at the back of our church. For example Veritas on Lower Abbey Street, Dublin and Scripture Union Bookshop on George’s Street in Dun Laoghaire have a great supply of books and cds.

It’s not just a matter of stocking up but taking the time to sit with your child to read with them or to talk God.

Preparing a ‘sacred’ or ‘prayer’ space could be part of this too.

A Word about First Confession

Your children model their behaviour on yours, so talk to them about forgiveness. This prepares them for their own First Confession.

It is often suggested that First Confession be followed with some small celebration to mark the day – a meal perhaps.

First Holy Communion
First Holy Communion is presented as a special meal in God’s house to which your children are invited. Your child’s spiritual growth, their relationship with the Father and with Jesus doesn’t stop once the Communion is over.

It’s a milestone in their journey, begun when you presented them at Baptism and Confirmation is the next stop!

Calling into the Church
A Man United Supporter in the house and parents bend over backwards to bring them to Old Trafford! Preparing for Communion then – Bring them to the hallowed ground. Our church is just next door! You could visit on the way into school or on the way home.

Show your child how to bless themselves, – and bless themselves with holy water, – Can they genuflect? In this way they are not unfamiliar with this when we go there as a class.

Being Actively Involved
Children like to be active and be involved, going to Church on a Sunday they appreciate a mass that involves them. The Family Mass, the Folk Group and Gospel Choir all give opportunities for the children to sing and to be involved.

So I would say keep looking until you find the one that your family is most happy with. Or join a Family Mass group. You will be given the opportunity for you and your child to be involved in the parish ‘Do it in memory of me’ programme. I have seen the benefits of children being involved in this.

In Conclusion
I hope you can see that helping your child’s spiritual growth gives them a gift for life that will provide them with
a friend in Jesus,
a heavenly Father,
a star to be guided by
and a port in a storm.
I’m sure you will agree this is important.

A Reminder: 1st Holy Communion Meetings for parents:
Wednesday, September 19th or Wednesday September 26th at 8.15pm in the Kilian House Family Centre.

Enrolments for parish programme of preparation for Communion at the following masses:
Saturday, 29th September at 6pm in Holy Rosary Church
Sunday, 30th September at 10am in St. Kilian’s Church, Blacklion
Sunday 30th 12.15pm in Holy Rosary