Sacraments

The following serve only as summaries. More details or explanations may be gained by talking with the Parish Priest.

Becoming a Catholic (Sacraments of Initiation I)

Those interested in becoming Catholics might well first talk with other Catholics, and, of course, come along to Church, where we hope they will feel welcome. They are also encouraged to talk with the Parish Priest at an early stage of enquiring.

Those wishing for the Baptism of their child/ren will need to talk with the Parish Priest well before making any other plans for the special day.

In each case, the priest can provide more detail, highlight any special requirements, and bring them to the next appropriate preparation programme.

Details of when programmes are running are also given in our Parish Bulletin.

Adults and Teenagers

Many adults who wish to consider becoming Catholics have already been Baptised (Christened) in another Church, but others have not. In both cases they would be asked to follow a course of enquiry, prayer and discussion with a priest, others interested, and one or more other Baptised Catholics, meeting regularly (maybe about fortnightly) through several months. The length of time would vary, depending on how much experience they have of our Catholic Church, and on their individual needs. Any not Baptised would normally be Baptised during the Vigil on the (Saturday) Eve of Easter Sunday, whereas any already Baptised might also be Received into our Church at other special times (eg Advent or Whit Sunday).

Teenagers would follow a similar programme, but at a level appropriate to their age and experience. Parental support would be a consideration, and more especially the younger the teenager.

Those becoming Catholics as adults and teenagers would commonly be Baptised (if not already) or Received, Confirmed and make their First Communion at Mass. and all on the same day.

Younger Children

Would normally be considered to become members of our Church where at least one of their parents or guardians is already a Baptised Catholic or is also seeking to become a Catholic. The amount and level of learning, prayer and discussion with children would depend on their age and quite possibly on whether they are attending a Catholic School. Our own Diocese of Leeds is one where the Sacrament of Confirmation might well be delayed until such a child is older (see Confirmation).

Baptism of Infants (to age 7)

Infants might normally be Baptised where at least one of the parents or guardians is a Catholic. As an infant is too young to decide for his/her self, the Faith and example of the Catholic parent or guardian is all important. Within our Parish we regularly run a programme (usually over two evenings) of preparation for parents of children to be baptised. We are delighted that almost all parents who are not Catholic also come to these. Godparents are welcome too, but we do ask parents to arrange baby-sitters, so as not to have to bring their child/ren. It is also important that parents do not appoint Godparents until they know what is required for people to be Godparents.

Growing as a Catholic (Sacraments of Initiation II)

Confirmation

This Sacrament goes hand in hand with Baptism, even when it is received several years later. It completes the signs of God giving his children his Holy Spirit, and confirms the recipients as ones chosen by God to live and work as Christ’s followers. It is much preferred that those who enter the adult Sacrament of Marriage should already be Confirmed, and any who go for Holy Orders must already be Confirmed.

Different Churches and different Dioceses allow for Confirmation to be administered at differing ages. While many Eastern Orthodox Churches Confirm infants at Baptism, most Roman Rite Catholics are Confirmed at an older age. In our own Diocese of Leeds the normal minimum age for Confirmation is 13 years, and Bishop Arthur administers Confirmation mostly during May and June, in one or two Churches in each Deanery (our Deanery covers the areas of Wakefield and Pontefract).

In our own Parish application forms are made available during October. Plans are then drawn up so as to soon after Christmas start the programme which, for our younger applicants, includes a number of meetings, two pilgrimage/retreat days, and celebrations at some of our Parish Masses, as well as the Confirmation Service.

When there are older (adult) applicants, it is usually more appropriate for them to either join a part of the Initiation of Adults programme or follow a tailor made programme, either of which can be arranged.

Such as details of application forms and reminders of meetings are well announced in our Parish Bulletin.

First Sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist

When adults or teenagers have been Baptised as Catholics, but for whatever reason have not made their First Reconciliation or Communion, and wish to do so, after discussion with the Parish Priest, usually they would join a part or more likely most of the Initiation of Adults programme.

Most commonly in our Roman Rite Church, the First Sacraments are first received by Catholics when they have reached a minimum age of seven (that is to say by the time of their First Reconciliation). Like many Parishes, we go with a school age grouping, and so invite children to prepare once they are in school year 3 or higher. Most of the preparation programme happens in our Parish Hall or Rooms, at weekends and outside of school hours. Application forms are made available during October. Plans are then drawn up so as to soon after Christmas start the programme, which includes regular meetings, a retreat day, and celebrations at some of our Parish Masses, before the celebration of First Reconciliations during Lent, and of First Communions around June.

Such as details of application forms and reminders of meetings are well announced in our Parish Bulletin.