Sacraments

The following serve only as summaries. The topics include Becoming a Catholic, as adults, teenagers, children, or babies – the First Sacraments of Reconciliation, Communion and Confirmation – and also a note on Marriage. 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. Please also read below, under Adults and Teenagers.

Those wishing for the Baptism of their child/ren will need to talk with the Parish Priest, at one of our Saturday/Sunday Masses, well before making any other plans for the special day. At this first stage, the priest will give a few brief details and arrange for the parents to then meet with him, to progress the preparations further. Please also read below, under Younger Children and Baptism of Infants

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 (aged 7+)

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. 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 during School Year 6 or aged 10/11. Generally, Bishop Marcus administers Confirmation each year, 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 soon after Easter. Most of the preparation programme happens in our Parish Hall or Rooms, at weekends and outside of school hours. Plans are drawn up for one meeting just before the summer holidays and the programme then continues through the autumn, with Confirmations likely early in the New Year. We use a programme of Family Catechesis, which requires at least one adult, ideally a parent, to remain and work with their child throughout each meeting; but the whole family is welcome to come along.

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. 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, for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Most of the preparation programme happens in our Parish Hall, at weekends and outside of school hours. We use a programme of Family Catechesis, which requires at least one adult, ideally a parent, to remain and work with their child throughout each meeting; but the whole family is welcome to come along. Application forms are made available about October. Plans are then drawn up so as to soon after Christmas start the programme, which includes regular meetings and celebrations at some of our Parish Masses, before the celebration of First Reconciliations, during Lent.

Once a Child has celebrated their First Reconciliation, they are eligible to join the next First Communion programme. This usually begins with a meeting just before the summer holidays, and continues with monthly meetings in the Autumn, and with First Commmunions being celebrated in Advent. Again, we use a programme of Family Catechesis.

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

Marriage

It is our Catholic belief that Marriage is a Covenant, in which a man and woman commit themselves to a union of life and love, and to be loyal to each other for as long as both live. For those physically able, it also involves a commitment to reach out in their love to have, and raise in love, children. It is understandable, then, that our Church requires those seeking marriage, within our Church, to engage in a period of signifcant preparation, to enter into this Sacrament. Couples, therefore, need to contact the Parish Priest at least six months and preferably earlier, before the desired date for the marriage. There are also civil requirements, that have to be fulfilled before a marriage can take place. These will be explained when the couple meet with the priest.