Sacraments at St. Thomas Aquinas
In Year 3 children receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. In preparation for this Sacrament, the children reflect on the fact that they are children of God and that this impacts on the way they treat others.
The children learn about Jesus’ teachings on repentance and forgiveness through studying Bible stories such as Zacchaeus the tax collector and parables like the Prodigal Son. They learn to appreciate that God created humans with free will allowing them to make a decision to make good and bad choices. The children are encouraged to think about the consequences of their actions and how this affects their relationship with God.
The children study the structure and sequence of the Rite of Reconciliation and are fully prepared to make their Reconciliation during the season Lent. The Sacrament of Reconciliation took place on 18th May 2021 at Our Lady of the Angels & St. Peter in Chains Church.
First Holy Communion
Once the children in Year 3 have made the Sacrament of Reconciliation, they receive the Sacrament of First Holy Communion. Children are invited to participate in a Mass of enrolment to make a commitment before God that they and their families will take on the responsibilities placed before them.
During Religious Education lessons in school, the children study the Last Supper when Jesus shared his last meal with the disciples. They look in particular at the breaking of the bread and how this is similar to the celebration of the Mass. By examining the words of Jesus at the Last Supper and the priest at Mass, they learn to appreciate that we are present with Jesus every time we go to Mass.
The children study all of the parts of the Mass in detail over the year but focus particularly on the Liturgy of the Eucharist leading up to the celebration of First Holy Communion. By exploring each of the parts of the Liturgy of the Eucharist in detail, the children learn that the Mass is a celebration of thanksgiving and that during the Eucharistic prayer, the priest asks the Holy Spirit to change the gifts of bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus.
Alongside their lessons in school, the children attend Mass with their families each week and pray at home as a family. The children are encouraged to read Bible stories together and discuss their Religious Education lessons. The children are given various tasks to complete at home linked to their First Holy Communion. The children work very hard at home, in school and in the parish to ensure that they were fully prepared to receive Jesus into their hearts.
This year the children are making their First Holy Communion on Sunday 4th July.
In Year 6, the children prepare to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation. Children are invited to participate in a Mass of enrolment to make a commitment before God that they and their families take on the responsibilities placed before them.
During Religious Education lessons in school, the children study the Holy Spirit in detail. They look at the fruits and gifts of the Holy Spirit and think about how these will work in their future lives. The children study the events of Pentecost and think about how they will be like the disciples when the Holy Spirit comes down upon them. As Confirmation is a Sacrament of initiation, the children explore how Baptism and Confirmation are linked, focusing in particular at the signs and symbols used in both.
As part of their journey, children prepare a project on the saint of their choice. They are encouraged to select the name of a saint who has inspired them in some way. A sponsor is also chosen and has the role of supporting the child in their spiritual life. The children also have the opportunity of taking part in spiritual retreats which enrich and deepen the understanding of their faith. Alongside their lessons in school, the children attend Mass with their families each week and pray at home as a family. The children are encouraged to read Bible stories together and discuss their Religious Education lessons.
The children will receive the Sacrament of Confirmation on Sunday 27th June.
Day Retreat to Alton Castle
The pupils Year 3 and Year 6 visited Alton Castle for a retreat to help prepare them for receiving their Sacraments.
The children participated in team building games, which emphasised the point that working together makes things easier than going it alone. Together we went through some Scripture and the Castle team members shared their own experiences of receiving the Sacraments.
Throughout the day the children were given time for meditation and reflection, helping them to see God in the world around them. A wonderful time was had by all.