For Baptism of a child under 7 years of age, contact the rectory for information on the next Baptismal Parent session. Parents who attended a training class previously within 7 years are exempted. Children 7 years or older will need to go through some appropriate instruction in preparation for baptism.
Godparents for Baptism are to be Confirmed Catholics, practicing the faith, and in good standing. ‘Practicing the faith’ and ‘in good standing’ means attending Church regularly, as well as participates in the Sacraments of the church as is appropriate for his/her situation. If married, they need to be married in the Church. If the godparent does not belong to Sacred Heart Parish, the godparent will need to secure an avadavat or certificate from the parish they attend to verify they meet the qualifications. Note that in many cases, a pastor may not know a person personally and will have to rely upon church records to determine if the person is registered, attends mass and practices his/her faith. A priest cannot attest to someone he is not familiar with, or has no record of, so it is unfair to ask someone who is not really attending church to be a godparent and thus embarrass them when they have difficulty getting a priest to account for them.
A Christian Witness is someone who is not Catholic but a practicing Christian of another denomination. They can be a Christian Witness as long as the other godmother/father is a Catholic who meets the criteria.
Although only one godparent is necessary if there are two there should be man and a woman. (i.e. NOT two godmothers/fathers.) Although it is encouraged that there be many diverse adults of good moral character involved in the life of children, the purpose of the godparent within the Church is rather specific and these criteria reflect the importance of that role.
1st RECONCILIATION AND 1st HOLY COMMUNION
For the Sacraments of 1st Penance and 1st Holy Communion the formal preparation is done in the 2ndand 3rd grade respectively in the context of the Religious Education program. Even students who are enrolled in Catholic schools are required to participate in the respective sacramental prep in the religious education program. The rational for this is twofold. Despite having a standardized curriculum in Catholic School religion classes, there is variation from school to school and some schools provide a cursory coverage of the Sacraments and leave the formal preparation to the respective parishes the students belong to. Secondly the combined sacramental preparation allows the Catholic School students to bond with the students of the parish’s religious ed. program. All Sacraments are supposed to be communal in nature so it is best if they are celebrating the Sacrament with students who are not total strangers to one another.
LITURGY OF THE WORD WITH CHILDREN
Children ages K-3 are dismissed at the 10:0AM Mass during the Liturgy of the Word to hear and discuss the Sunday readings in language they can better understand. Adults facilitate Children’s Liturgy of the Word.
The Catholic Church has always maintained that parents are the primary teachers of the faith through instruction, practice and example. The Church also recognizes its own responsibility to aid parents through the teaching role of the Church. The two primary ways that the Church fulfills this role is through the provision of Catholic Schools and for religious education classes for students who attend secular schools. For students who do not attend a Catholic School there is a joint religious education program between St. Andrews, St. Pauls and Sacred Heart parishes.
Currently, religious ed. classes for grades 1-8 are on Saturday mornings at St. Andrews from 9AM to 10:30 from September through May. Grades 9-11 are on Sunday mornings at St. Andrews from 9:30AM to 10:45AM.
There is a registration fee for religious education to help defray the costs of books and supplies used during the year. If fee is a hardship on the family, please contact the pastor; inability to pay should never exclude a child’s access to faith formation.
In the Diocese of Erie confirmation typically occurs during the junior year of High School. Although the Sacrament is celebrated in the junior year, there is a requirement that they are involved in religious ed. in both the 9 and 10 grades either in a Catholic School or the parish’s religious education program. Students are not allowed to simply disappear from religion training after their 1st communion and then show up in their junior year just to get Confirmed. Additionally the Sacraments are to be received in freedom, thus if a confirmation candidate is being coerced for forced by family members, the church will back a student’s desire to not be Confirmed; there is no point in Confirming a student who is resistant and has no intention of practicing their faith as an adult.