Christian initiation is celebrated in Baptism, Confirmation, and Eucharist. Through these visible actions, a young person is incorporated into the Church and shares its mission in the world. Sacramental catechesis takes place through ongoing remote preparation and immediate preparation.
Ongoing remote preparation is essential prior to sacramental catechesis. In the Diocese of St. Augustine, it is expected that a minimum of two years of documented remote preparation would precede the reception of the above mentioned sacraments. Remote Preparation is provided through the parish Religious Education Program or Catholic School.
Immediate Preparation for the sacraments involves Religious Education programs, Catholic School programs and those who home school joining together for parent meetings, family gatherings, specific classroom instruction, and/or retreat time. All students in sacramental preparation must attend the appropriate retreat(s): First Reconciliation Retreat & First Eucharist Retreat for the reception of First Eucharist; Confirmation Retreat for the reception of Confirmation.
Canon Law stipulates that candidates must be an age of sufficient reason, have proper knowledge of the sacraments, and participate in appropriate academic and spiritual formation. Readiness of candidates is determined by parents, pastor, Director of Faith Formation, catechists, and candidates in conversation with one another.
Since full initiation is the norm for all Catholics, persons with special needs (families with unique needs, including physical, emotional and mental disabilities but not limited to these circumstances) are to be included within all aspects of the preparation process.
Parents, sponsors and other role models are encouraged to act as witnesses by their regular participation in church life within the parish.
A privileged time and place for the sacraments of confirmation and First Eucharist is within the Sunday assembly. The proper context for the celebration of the sacraments is the parish community. Therefore, it is always best that these sacraments be celebrated in the parish where the candidate regularly attends Sunday Mass with his/her family.
Regular Sunday Mass attendance is expected of all families. Students will be issued envelopes that are to be used to keep track of Mass attendance. Catholic Baptismal Certificates must be on file with the parish in order to receive any sacrament.