This form of Christian Initiation is intended for children 7 years of age up to seniors in high school. They have either not been baptized as infants, or have been validly baptized and are in need of the sacraments of Reconciliation and First Eucharist. The youth seek these sacraments with the direction of their parents or guardians or with parental permission. Such youth are capable of receiving and nurturing a personal faith. They cannot yet be treated as adults because at this stage of their lives they are dependent on their parents or guardians and are still strongly influenced by their companions and social surroundings.
This process of initiation is adapted both to their spiritual growth in faith and to the catechetical instruction they receive. Accordingly, their initiation is to be extended over at least 2 years before they receive the sacraments.
The youth's progress in formation depends on the help and example of their companions and on the influence of their parents or guardians. Parents or guardians are required to attend the weekly sessions with their youth.
Those unbaptized are considered catechumens and will be preparing for Baptism, Confirmation, and First Eucharist. Their initiation is marked by several steps, including the rite of acceptance, penitential rites, and the celebration of the sacraments. The ideal time for the youth to be formally received into the Catholic Church is the Easter Vigil, at the Holy Saturday service.
Those that have been validly baptized but not catechized are called candidates and will prepare for the sacraments of Reconciliation and First Eucharist. This also is a 2-year preparation and families are required to attend with their youth. The reception of the sacraments can be arranged after Easter Sunday.
Go to our Religious Education Registration page for information about registering your child.