With You Always

Suggested Resources for Confirming Children 8+ Who Have Already Celebrated Their First Communions

Now Available - Free 3-Session preparation programme for the Confirmations of primary age children who have already celebrated their First Communion.  Written by Pastoral Area 3, April 2011. 
Please contact Eleanor Lalley at LACE 0151-522-1047 if you would like a copy of this electronic resource to use in your parish. 

NEW!  Now Available - Family Catechesis Treasure Hunt

Aims of this session:
1. To introduce Family Catechesis to parents, children and catechists
2. To enable parents with their children to become more familiar with their parish church and therefore to feel more ‘at home’ in Church
3. To enable parents and children to share an experience in which all are discovering together
4. To trace the journey from Baptism to Confirmation and Eucharist
5. To introduce some of the ‘essentials’ for the celebration of Eucharist
6. To be an extra session for the preparation of primary children and their parents for the Sacrament of Confirmation

FAQs - April 2011
Some frequently asked questions and answers about the restored order of the Sacraments of Initiation.


With You Always

Changes in the way we celebrate Sacraments

Read the leaflet for parishes and schools in full here  (text only version below)

In recent years in the Archdiocese of Liverpool, most Catholics have been baptised as babies, made their First Communion around age seven and been confirmed as teenagers.

These three sacraments make up the process of belonging to the Church (called Christian Initiation). The sacraments weren’t always in that order, and adults preparing for initiation have always received them in the original order: Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist (Communion).

From September 2012 in this Archdiocese, children who have been baptised will follow that same order. Those aged eight by the first of September 2012 will be invited to receive Confirmation and First Communion in the days between Ascension Sunday and the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi) in 2013, and the same pattern will be followed each year after that.

The families of these children will be invited to explore and celebrate Reconciliation with them during Advent each year, while teenagers and their families will be invited to explore and celebrate Reconciliation during Lent each year.

The bishops will preside at some of the celebrations of Confirmation and Communion (with priests delegated to confirm at the other celebrations) and at some of the celebrations of Reconciliation with teenagers and their families.

At the same time the way children are prepared for these sacraments will change. Instead of teachers, catechists and priests teaching children and parents about the sacraments, they will help the parents to hand on their own faith to their children, fulfilling the privileges and responsibilities expressed in the Rite of Baptism. New resources will help parents to prepare their own children for these sacraments with the support of the local church community.

These changes are meant to help us understand that sacraments are gifts of God’s grace, that parents are the first teachers of their children in the ways of faith, and that we are all called to get to know Jesus better throughout our life’s journey.

September 2011 to August 2012
A year of preparation and transition

• No First Communions in most parishes because moving to Year 4 (8-9)

• June 2011: Launch and Formation Week

• Sept 2011: Launching the Family Catechesis model
   with focus on Baptism and Reconciliation

• Confirmations through the year for those aged 8+

• Lent 2012: Reconciliation services for teenagers and families 
  with bishops in some areas

• SS Peter and Paul (29 June 2012): School Celebrations

September 2012 – August 2013
The first year of the restored order

• Some Confirmations of those aged 8+ will take place during the year

• Advent 2012: Family Reconciliation for children 8/9 (Year 4) and their families

• Lent 2013: Reconciliation services for teenagers and families
  with bishops in some pastoral areas

• Ascension to Corpus Christi: Celebrations of Confirmation and Communion
  with a bishop in each pastoral area (May 12th 2013 – June 2nd 2013)

• SS Peter and Paul (1 July 2013): School Celebrations

September 2013 – August 2014 and following years
The restored order is now the norm for everyone

• Advent 2013: Family Reconciliation for children 8/9 (Year 4) and their families

• Lent 2014: PA Reconciliation services for teenagers and families
  with bishops in some areas

• Ascension to Corpus Christi: Celebrations of Confirmation and Communion
  with bishops in each pastoral area (June 1st 2014 – June 22nd 2014)

• SS Peter and Paul (30 June 2014): School Celebrations

September 2010

Archdiocese of Liverpool: Restoring the Order of the Sacraments of Initiation
Progress Report September 2010

The Archbishop’s Decision

At the end of 2008 the Archbishop, with the encouragement of the Council of Priests, took the decision to restore the order of the sacraments of initiation and to introduce a family catechesis approach, supported by parishes and schools. Since then the Sacraments Working Party has been considering the best ways to bring about this change and has now prepared a process of consultation, formation and implementation.

All is Gift: Statement of Values

The Working Party concluded its Progress Report in January 2010 with this comment:
It has become clear through the discussions that simply restoring the order of the sacraments will not address the issues that cause concern: a major change is needed in the way we celebrate and bear witness to our faith through our sacramental practice. Parents, as the ‘first and most important teachers of their children in the ways of faith’ need the wholehearted support of all the baptized in this important ministry. This will require a fundamental shift in our approach from merely delivering programmes of preparation for the sacraments to developing opportunities for ongoing celebration and formation for sacramental living. Within that context, the Working Party members are especially concerned to ensure that what they propose will result in an increase in the local church’s engagement with families and young people.

At the Working Party’s March meeting, the Archbishop led a discussion which identified the following values as being central to the major change for which we are preparing.

• Gift, not works: the sacraments are part of God’s gift to us, not works that we do. As John Paul II insisted, confirmation, even if it is delayed to the teenage years, must be appreciated as a celebration of the gift of the Holy Spirit and not confused with an opportunity for young people to make a commitment.

• Parents are the primary educators of their children in faith: priests, catechists and teachers, like the godparents at Baptism and the whole Christian community, are to help and support parents and families as they carry out this responsibility, not to do it for them. This approach is in harmony with the third phase of the Bishops’ Conference Celebrating Family initiative, Passing on the Faith, and with work currently being done on the RE programmes used in our Catholic schools.

• Lifelong formation for the call to holiness: we must move from preparing people for sacraments as isolated events to inviting them into a relationship with Jesus in the community of the Church and accompanying them on the lifelong journey of deepening that relationship.

• Beginning with Baptism: the approach of accompanying and supporting parents as they hand on faith to their children must begin when they request baptism for their children but must focus on their own baptism, their faith and how they will hand it on.

• Integration, not disintegration: parishes should have one group of catechists accompanying parents through the one process of initiation, rather than having separate groups and programmes for Baptism, First Communion and Confirmation. The timing should make clear that Confirmation is part of the preparation for Eucharist, not a separate programme. The whole diocese will be doing this together.

• Faithfulness to the liturgical year: keeping the Lord’s Day as the principal feast and celebrating initiation according to the pattern of the liturgical year, linking Confirmation with Pentecost and First Eucharist with the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ. This has the advantage that at a child’s Baptism one can say the dates on which the child will be Confirmed and receive Eucharist, again making the integration and progression clear. The Mass of Chrism takes on a new dimension when the Chrism is entrusted to priests for the Confirmations to take place at Pentecost.

• Reconciliation is not a sacrament of initiation: it is for the forgiveness of post-initiation sin. It should be experienced as a journey into appreciating the gift of forgiveness, celebrated at several stages, in keeping with a child’s growing ability to appreciate the different layers of reconciliation: with individuals, with God, with society, with creation. This journey should begin in the primary years and become a major focus in the teenage years with concentrated work supported by the Animate team and High Schools and with Pastoral Area celebrations presided over by the bishops.