St. Isaac Jogues Catholic School

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Faith » Sacramental Preparation

Sacramental Preparation

Though Christ is the teacher of all our classrooms, He is present in a special way for our students preparing to receive the Sacraments. Our Second and Eighth Graders spend much of their year preparing their minds and hearts to encounter Jesus and His Holy Spirit in these most profound ways.
 
Second Grade First Reconciliation and First Communion

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.

 
 
 
Eighth Grade Confirmation
Confirmation is often thought of as a Rite of Passage, whereby the Confirmandi cross over from childhood to adults within the Church. However, a more accurate description of Confirmation is the "Sacrament of Discipleship," whereby we are united all the more closely to Christ in order to follow Him and learn His ways. When we receive the Sacrament of Confirmation, we receive a special outpouring of the Holy Spirit that binds us more perfectly to the Church and enriches us with a special strengthening to make us true witnesses of Christ, able to spread and defend the Faith in word and deed (cf. CCC 1285).
 
To prepare for this special Sacrament, our Eighth Grade students participate in a year-long program of formation. Each week students watch and discuss video presentations provided by Ascension Press' Chosen program. Scattered throughout the year are "retreat classes" where students are able to spend time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament or to discuss with one another the challenges of daily discipleship in the 21st Century. Students also interact with faithful Catholics from varied walks of life to learn the many ways in which the Spirit calls people to serve (from Brothers and Sisters of various religious communities to laity in high profile jobs, such as actor David Henrie). A high point of the Eighth Grade preparations for Confirmation is the trip to Washington, D.C. to participate in the March for Life each January. This experience, more than any other, helps prepare our students to become virtuous and faithful Catholics in the modern world.