The Sacramental Programme for Confirmation and First Holy Communion is currently under review in this Diocese. Therefore once again, for this academic year (2017/18), there is only a programme of preparation for First Holy Communion, and it is geared to Year 3 in Primary School (though older children who have missed the programme when they were in Year 3 are still welcome to join).

The programme, (which will also bring the children to the Sacrament of First Reconciliation), begins with meetings for parents, but the most important aspect is not special meetings, events or courses for the children - it is simply about growing in their sense of belonging to the church family. Most of the preparation will be covered in the context of Sunday Mass (or Saturday evening if this is easier). After all, when the children receive Holy Communion for the first time, they are, in effect, saying "Now I'm fully a part of this community, this Family of God!" What could mean more now, than simply growing accustomed to regular involvement in the Mass and really gaining that sense, with family and friends in prayer and worship, that they genuinely do belong?

First Communion dates will not be announced until shortly after Christmas.

The closing date for applications for the 2017/18 programme has now passed.

Late applications may still be considered on an individual basis.

KEY INFORMATION FOR THE ONGOING 2017/18 PROGRAMME

There are no additional meetings scheduled before Christmas, and the programme of preparation continues through the children's regular attendance at Mass on Sundays (or at the Saturday Vigil Masses).

If you are regularly attending a church in a different parish, please let us see your child's 'passport' booklet whenever possible so that our records can be kept up to date. Whenever possible, it would be good to see you and your children at Holy Cross or St Matthew's, as the programme itself is more than simply attending the Mass - we pause at different stages to try and guide the children into a deeper understanding of what is going on, whilst in other parish programmes this aspect may well be done in meetings outside of the Mass itself, so your children would be missing out if they attend the Masses there but not the meetings.

Do, please keep in touch, and let us know of any difficulties as we go along.