An exciting set of new multi-media resources have been launched to help parents as they prepare their children to receive their First Holy Communion, with its launch timed to coincide with the reopening of churches and the related return to the full celebration of the sacraments.
Eucharistic Readings for Parents and Their Children has been produced by the Life, Marriage and Family Team from the Archdiocese of Sydney and takes parents and children through 30 step-by-step lessons around the centrality of the Eucharist in the Catholic faith, complemented by videos for each lesson on the Archdiocesan website.
“In developing this new resource on the Eucharist for parents and children, our intent is to offer a practical tool that can complement the formation being offered by our priests …”
Life, Marriage and Family Team Leader, Steven Buhagiar said the readings in the resource are substantially the work of the Parish Priest of Our Lady of the Rosary parish in St Mary’s, Fr Brendan Murphy SDB.
“My wife and I were involved in the parish sacramental program for First Holy Communion at St Mary’s and we had been working for a number of years, under Fr Murphy’s direction, on trying to get parents more involved in the program”, Mr Buhagiar explained.
“We found that there was a hunger amongst the parents for formation themselves and so Fr Murphy integrated in readings into a resource which parents could benefit from as well”.
The Life, Marriage and Family Team have enhanced the resource, adding in videos to supplement each reading. There is a QR code alongside each reading which then allows the parents to easily share the video content with their children as they’re engaging with the resource.
The resource presents key concepts which children need to know as they prepare to receive their First Holy Communion in an engaging way, drawing upon inspirational stories around how saints have grown closer to Christ through their love of the Eucharist.
“We found that there was a hunger amongst the parents for formation themselves and so Fr Murphy integrated in readings into a resource which parents could benefit from as well.”
Among the saints’ stories shared in the resource is the young Italian computer genius, Blessed Carlo Acutis, who died at the age of 15 in 2006 and had collected information about Eucharistic miracles from around the world and shared them on his own website.
There are also other powerful role models for young people in the resource, including Venerable Antonietta Meo, an Italian girl who was born in the 1930s and endured great physical suffering after being diagnosed as a child with bone cancer, yet decided to direct her suffering into serving others.
Mr Buhagiar said a conscious decision was made to focus on the lives of saints whose inspirational stories would resonate with young Catholics, especially centered on their love for the Eucharist.
“The 2nd Vatican Council taught us that the Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life. The saints knew that, they lived that and they taught that and gave example to that by living that message out practically in their daily lives”, he said.
The Director of the Sydney Centre for Evangelisation, Mr Daniel Ang said the resource will help complement the important work being offered in parishes to children, preparing for their first holy communion.
“our intent is to offer a practical tool that can complement the formation being offered by our priests and many dedicated parish sacramental coordinators…”
“One of the commitments of our Archdiocesan Mission Plan, Go Make Disciples, has been to ensure the sacramental life of our parishes is supported and nourished in new ways. Go Make Disciples emphasises that all forms of evangelisation and outreach in our Church spring from and return to Christ who is truly present in every parish and Eucharistic community”, Mr Ang explained.
“In developing this new resource on the Eucharist for parents and children, our intent is to offer a practical tool that can complement the formation being offered by our priests and many dedicated parish sacramental coordinators to those families seeking First Communion for their children”.
Eucharistic Readings for Parents and Their Children and the videos for each of the readings is available on the Archdiocese of Sydney website here: https://www.sydneycatholic.org/eucharistic-resources/
For Sacramental Coordinators who are interested in using this resource to supplement their own parish programs, you are welcome to contact Mr Simon Yeak, Archdiocesan Sacramental Program and RCIA Coordinator, who was closely involved with the project and who would be more than happy to assist where possible. Simon is contactable via email: [email protected]