Completing the Sacramental Initiation of Children

The Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist are called SACRAMENTS OF INITIATION. In the early church, and today as part of the Christian Initiation of Adults, these three sacraments were received together, traditionally during the Easter Vigil. Children, however, receive them at different stages of their lives. The practice of sacramental initiation of children within the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle is covered by a policy entitled Becoming Disciples: Sacraments of Initiation for Children. A copy of this policy can be found by clicking here.

Baptism is the first Sacrament. It initiates us into the Catholic Christian Community, those who believe that God the Father sent his Son Jesus Christ to live among us, so that, filled with the gifts of the Holy Spirit we too, can live in harmony and peace with each other and enjoy eternal happiness in heaven. The waters of Baptism commit us to dying to our old way of life and being reborn to a new life in the Spirit of Jesus.

Baptism is a prerequisite for the reception of other sacraments.

After Baptism Comes...

The journey of Christian Initiation continues after Baptism with the celebration of the remaining Sacraments of Initiation, first the Sacrament of Confirmation, and then celebrating First Communion, the first time when the Christian participates fully in the Sacrament of Eucharist.

Completing the journey of Christian Initiation is possible once a child reaches the 'age of reason' (generally about seven) and their parents or guardians believe they are ready to do so.

In line with the policy of the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle, the Parishes of Dungog & Gresford suggest a family-based resource and approach to assist parents in preparing their child for the celebration of both Confirmation and First Communion. It is possible to undertake preparation at any time, and we recommend that it is begun only when parents or guardians believe their child is ready.

The contents of the preparatory material are recommended as accessible for any child in Year 3 or above, but the choice to have any child participate in the journey of Christian Initiation is solely that of the parents or guardians.

More information about the journey of Christian Initiation can be found in the Parish Information Booklet below.

If you would like to enrol your child in the journey of Christian Initiation, please complete the form available via the button below.

What about First Reconciliation...?

Although the suggested resources will assist parents or guardians prepare their children for the celebration of First Reconciliation, the Sacrament itself is not one of the Sacraments of Initiation.

Only those members of the Church who are aware of committing serious sin are obliged to avail themselves of the Sacrament of Reconciliation; all members of the Church are encouraged to make use of the Sacrament on a regular basis as part of deepening their relationship with Jesus and seeking God's help to live a good life.

Children preparing to celebrate their First Communion are encouraged to also celebrate their First Reconciliation beforehand.