Introduction:Have you ever been invited to a celebration of Faith? I'd like to take you on a journey to Review two of the most important sacraments in a Catholic child's faith journey. You may be invited to share in this celebration and this "Review This" is to help you recognize the celebration as well as appropriate gifts to mark this important occasion.
Holy Communion and Confirmation, What are they?
Late March, April, and May are traditional months for Catholics to Celebrate the Sacraments of Holy Communion and Confirmation.
For many families, it will be a time of fellowship not only with their church community but also with parents and grandparents, who will be pleased to see their children growing in their spiritual formation.
Catholic children around the age of eight or nine will begin to learn about the sacrament of Holy Communion. They will learn about the meaning behind the sacrament and all the symbolism that is contained within the celebration of Mass every week.
They will learn about Jesus, his life, his death and his Ressurrection, and the promise to return again. They will also learn that Jesus loves them in a way that is beyond comprehension. For Adult Catholics it's a time to remember and relive the beauty of receiving Communion for the first time ever. It's also a great time to help our youngsters learn to live the Gospels, to live the way we were taught by the actions and the life of Jesus. It is also a time to explain to our children that living as Christians is not an easy task. That they will work at being good Christians every day of their lives, and that it should be a life lived in Joy!
What is the purpose of the Sacraments?
Jesus loves each one of us, just the way we are! We need to learn how to love everyone in the same way. That is what we are called to do if we want to live truly Christian lives. We will fail many times, and that's when Communion becomes especially important. We come back to God, asking for His strength and His courage to become more and more like Him. We need that courage and strength so that we can look at all of our brothers and sisters with the same loving eyes that our God sees them. It's not easy to do, but with the sacraments that continue to nourish our souls, we will gain that strength that we need.
Children are such wonderful examples for us! As we get older, we tend to become more jaded. Our many disappointments in life sometimes take their toll on our spirits. That is why it's important for us to help our children. In helping them to celebrate these milestones, we are reminded of God's love for us too. Even though we are grown up in mind and body, we are still children of the Almighty and he loves us as a Perfect Father would. Sharing the sacraments with our children helps us to remember what we are called to do as followers of Christ!
Confirmation, Growth in the Spirit of God
The Sacrament of Confirmation is done when the children are a little older. Children are usually about 12 or 13 years of age. This sacrament mirrors the Jewish Bar/Bat/Mitzvah (when the young people are seen as old enough to read the Scriptures). After all, Christianity has its roots in the Jewish Faith, so this is the Catholic sacrament of a "coming of age". Our children are now seen as old enough to accept the faith that we have kindled in them through their younger years. It is time for them to decide for themselves, that this is the faith that they will accept for their lives. Parents accepted the duty to teach their children the faith when they were Baptized. Now, at this time in their lives, they stand on their own two feet and accept the faith for themselves. Many people wonder about the taking on of a saint's name as part of this celebration. Let me explain, children who are on their way to making their Confirmation are encouraged to look to the Saints who have lived a good Christian life. They take on the name of a Saint that they admire for the way they lived their lives and hopefully will follow in that saint's example on their own journey of faith.
As with any faith celebration, gifts are usually given to mark this day as a special time in their lives. Appropriate gifts would include a Bible, Prayer Book, Books on the Lives of Saints or Leaders in the Church. Books that make the young person think about their lives and direction. There are many really good books that are not "religious" but make the young mind expand in ways that will benefit them. Philosophy books that are great for the soul and make young minds question their lives and their beliefs will hopefully make them grow in their faith journey. After all, it is a journey that will last for the rest of their lives. We shouldn't stop growing in our faith life, just because we are out of school. It should be a journey that lasts a long, long time.
My hope is that this Review will help you if you should ever find yourself invited to a celebration of faith for someone you care about. Please bookmark this Review so that when your invitation arrives, you will be prepared to help the child celebrate His/Her growth in the Spirit of Christ.
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