First Communion and Confirmation at Saint Agnes
Sacramental Steps: Milestones in the life of God's Grace
Just as in our day-to-day life there are milestones which mark our growth toward adulthood, God has given us Sacraments as milestones and helps to nourish us and encourage us throughout our life on earth and to prepare us to receive greater joy in heaven our homeland.
Sacraments are physical, visible signs of God's invisible grace and love. They're symbolic actions and objects which actually make real what they signify. For example, Baptism is a real washing with real water, but it's also a cleansing of our soul which redeems us from sin and makes us partakers of God's own life.
God gives us different Sacraments to help us know Him and His redemptive love for us throughout our lives, from the beginning in Baptism to the end with Anointing of the Sick.
We want to help you and your children to celebrate these Sacraments as fully and fruitfully as possible. Thus we've prepared Sacramental Preparation programs for several of the major milestones after Baptism: First Confession (or sometimes Reconciliation or Penance), First Holy Communion (Holy Eucharist), and Confirmation.
If you have any questions or concerns about our programs or need to submit forms found on the left, please don't hesitate to contact our Religious Education Office via email or by phone at 703-525-1166.
Sacramental Program Details:
First Confession and First Holy Communion
Typically, First Confession and First Holy Communion are celebrated when children reach their 2nd grade year. Children who are candidates to receive the Sacraments of Confession or Holy Communion are usually required to spend at least two years of preparation in our CCD or Saint Agnes School religious education programs. Parents can enroll their children in the Saint Agnes Religious Education program by filling out the necessary registration forms on the left column of this page and emailing them to the Religious Education office. Families who choose to homeschool should contact the Religious Education office to enquire about receiving First Confession or First Holy Communion with their CCD or School peers.
- First Confession always preceeds reception of First Holy Communion, as St. Paul reminds us in his letter to the Corinthians that we should make sure to receive the Eucharist only if we are right before God. Since Confession is the Sacrament which makes us right before God, it comes before First Communion. First Confessions at Saint Agnes are typically celebrated in the late winter or early spring months.
- First Holy Communion is typically celebrated in the spring of each year, after First Confessions. Our program of formation aims to ensure that the children appreciate (as much as possible) who they truly receive in the Eucharist: Jesus Christ.
The Sacramental Preparation Packet and other relevant documents can be found in the column on the left.
The Sacraments are tangible signs of God’s love for us and real transformative forces in our life. They are a participation in God’s own life, which is a tremendously generous gift. Because love is free or it is not love at all, God’s gifts in the Sacraments can only be freely and willingly received. Confirmation in particular is the Sacrament which perfects the gift we’re given in baptism; it strengthens our faith, fills us with the life of God through the Holy Spirit, and gives us a mission to share the Gospel in the world. It is the gift of a commission, a gift to be a disciple and a missionary. Confirmation is NOT becoming an adult in the Church, but is rather a necessary initial step towards that goal. It IS an opportunity for the candidate to make their faith “their own”.
We as a Church have a duty to God, in ensuring that His gifts are understood and respected, and to each candidate, to ensure that they’re reasonably prepared, freely willing and ready to receive the gift of Confirmation. To that end, we as a community look for signs of readiness from the candidates. These signs are an outward, observable measure which indicates an inward readiness to receive Confirmation. As such, we ask that candidates meet the following requirements as expressions of their readiness to receive the Sacrament.
- Regular Mass attendance (All Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation).
- Selection of a patron saint and submission of a paper outlining who the saint is and why he or she was chosen.
- Selection of a Confirmation sponsor and completion of the sponsor eligibility form.
- 15 hours of community service and a short paper reflecting on this experience.
- Completion of various necessary assignments by required deadlines
- An interview with the Parish Priest in the Summer before Confirmation.
- Participation in the Confirmation Retreat in Fall of the Confirmation Year.
- Participation in the Confirmation Rehearsal and Liturgy.
Details and specific requirements for each of these “signs of readiness” can be found in sections of the Confirmation Packet found in the left column of this page.
The date of Confirmation varies from year to year, depending on the Bishop's schedule. Generally speaking, though, it is celebrated at Saint Agnes in late September or early October, typically on a Friday evening or a weekend.