First Communion & Confirmation
Our Catechism or Sacramental Preparation Program
Our Catechism or Sacramental Preparation Program is for those who need to be prepared to receive any of the following sacraments: First Communion/Eucharist (the enrollee must be at least 7 years old); or Confirmation (the enrollee must be at least 13 years old); or Baptism for someone older than 6 years old and not yet baptized.
Please remember that we accept into our program only those applicants who reside within our geographical boundaries, that is to say, those whose zip code is 92283. We accept applicants from the city of Yuma and other places only if the parents are presently registered and contribute as well as regularly attend Mass here in our parish.
Among the requirements to be completed before receiving the sacraments is 70 hours of attendance in Catechism classes or sessions. Based on our experience during the past several years, many students cannot or do not attend weekly catechism classes regularly because they have other commitments like weekend sports, etc. Thus, we have decided that classes or sessions need not be held every weekend. Such will depend on the agreement between the parents and the catechist concerned. Moreover, the catechism instruction may be individualized as long as the student’s parents, brothers and sisters join in the sessions. The student concerned will receive the sacrament only after having completed 70 hours of Catechism classes or sessions.
The materials to be covered are the following: (1) The Nicene Creed, and (2) Basic knowledge of the Bible. The Bible contains the truths taught by our Lord Jesus Christ and the Nicene Creed is the summary of such truths. Our Catechism classes will consist in explaining each sentence or teaching in the Creed by reading and understanding the passages or stories in the Bible that support it.
Our Catechism emphasizes its being a transmission of the faith thru knowledge of it via bible sharing and how it is applied in our actual lives now. Every lesson taught will not end just with having known something about the faith but with application or with trying to answer the question: “how do I or how can I live this truth or teaching in my life – in the home as a child in relation to my parents and siblings, in the school in relation to teachers and other students, in the community, etc.” Here the students are made aware of what they should put into practice after the sessions.
The atmosphere of our Catechism “classes” is not “purely pursuit of knowledge of the faith” which can degenerate into its “academization.” Although done in the classroom, the atmosphere will be “prayer” which may be akin to “bible sharing for and with children” for progress in spiritual life.
The memorization of the Creed will be emphasized only after the whole Creed or after much of it has been explained. It will become meaningful for the students when they are asked to finally memorize the Nicene Creed because they shall have seen how it is the summary of the faith that is written in so many words in the Bible.
The method may be described as “storytelling” or relating the bible stories or bible episodes that answer the question: where is that in the Bible? It is recommended that parents join with their children, guided by the catechist, in discovering where in the Bible do we find the basis for the truths expressed or summarized in the Creed.
For more details or to explore other ways of sacramental preparation for your children, you may email me at [email protected] or call 760-572-0283 and leave your phone number and a detailed message.
All for the greater honor and glory of God, I remain
Fr. George of the Desert
St. Thomas Indian Mission, Fort Yuma, California