At Baptism, we are freed from sin and reborn as sons and daughters of God, becoming truly incorporated into the Church. Yet the faith received at baptism still needs to develop and mature. Additionally, baptism does not erase the inclination to sin. Thus, in order to grow in faith and awaken the realization of the necessity of God’s great love and mercy, our Second Grade prepares for two great sacraments of love: Reconciliation and First Communion. In these two sacraments, we are given the strength to live the life of virtue and to tangibly meet Christ through forgiveness and communion.
To prepare for the sacrament of Reconciliation, our students approach the sacrament relying on their strong foundation in virtue. Since the students have now reached the age of reason, they are beginning to see that while they may know what a virtue “sounds like” or “looks like”, they do not always choose to practice it. Already they have the realization that sins not only hurt themselves, but ultimately their relationship with Christ. Therefore, preparation for this sacrament involves much joy – the student realizes that they can have great confidence in God’s complete forgiveness and they will be given the strength not to sin again. During the time of preparation, the students study in great detail the parable of the Prodigal Son, the numerous healings (of body and soul!) of Jesus, and saints who have experienced God’s love in a particular way in the sacrament of Reconciliation.
Preparation for First Communion is truly the highlight of Second Grade. Once the students have received the graces of Reconciliation, they are eager to receive Jesus. The class learns about this great mystery of our faith by studying the Old Testament roots of the sacrament, the institution of the sacrament at the Last Supper, and the many saints and miracles of the Eucharist. Ultimately, the Second Grade class prepares for their First Communion by spending time with Jesus in Eucharistic adoration or making class visits to Him during the school day. It is in deepening their relationship with Christ that the students become prepared to receive His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity on their First Communion day.