FIRST PENANCE/FIRST HOLY COMMUNION OVERVIEW

Alive-O 4 explores the notion of the interdependence of all things. From the beginning of the year we endeavour to explore with the children the human values and attitudes, which are central to an understanding of and meaningful participation in these sacraments:

  • A sense of their own goodness
  • A sense of being connected to others
  • A recognition of wrongdoing
  • A respect for self and others
  • A capacity to forgive and to be forgiven
  • A sense of celebration

In the Second Class Programme we formally introduce the children to the Sacrament of Baptism and we seek to deepen their understanding of the Eucharist and Reconciliation. We deal aslo with the main events in the Liturgical year: Feast of All Saints, Advent, Christmas, Ash Wednesday, Lent, Easter, Holy Week, Pentecost.

The sacraments of Baptism, Reconciliation and Eucharist are presented as the actions of Christ. It is Christ who offers us the forgiveness of God in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. It is Christ who is present in the Eucharist, speaking to us in the scriptures, leading us in our praise, thanksgiving and worship to God, giving himself to us as the Bread of Life and sending us out to show his love in the world.

Catechesis on the Eucharist is not confined to the specific lessons on the Eucharist. Throughout the year, we try to develop in the children attitudes which will help them to participate in the celebration:

  • An ability to work with symbol and to take part in ritual
  • A sense of being-with-others
  • A sense of coming together with others
  • Listening to the word of God
  • A sense of the meaning of celebration
  • An ability to reflect on the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ
  • A desire to be a follower of Jesus
  • A sense of God’s presence in sign and sacrament

Sacrament of Reconciliation

In the lessons in Alive-O 4 in preparation for the Sacrament, the children begin the process of reconciliation, where they come to recognise their essential goodness and rejoice in it, appreciate their inter-relatedness with others, become aware of their failures and sinfulness, and say sorry for the times when their behavious has been destructive or has caused pain or hurt and has weakened the connection between themselves and others and between themselves and God. We help them to reflect on the times when they have become disconnected from their true selves, from the goodness in those around them and from God who loves them, in spite of any failure on their part.

In Second Class we explore with the children the capacity to create a spirit of being with others. We help them to reflect on their experiences of sharing their life with others at home, at school, with their friends, in their neighbourhood. We help to heighten their awareness of the identity, which shapes any group of people who hold a common sense of belonging. Baptism is presented as the sacrament where the Christian community gathers to welcome a new member into the family of God. Throughout the Alive-O 4, (Second Class: First Penance/First Communion) the children are led to a deep awareness of God’s love for each one of them, that they are indeed God’s children, that they share in the life of the Risen Jesus whose spirit is always with them as they try to live as Jesus lived.