We invite you to celebrate the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist at Saint Joan of Arc Church. We welcome current members and all who are seeking to join our parish to enter into the process that will lead to full initiation into the Catholic Church for youth and adults.
Formation for the sacraments is ongoing. to get started, regular Mass attendance on weekends is expected together with faith formation sessions specific to the age of the person. Immediate preparation to celebrate a sacrament will follow at the appropriate time. The length of the process depends on the sacrament and needs of the individual. In preparing families to celebrate the sacraments, Saint Joan of Arc parish follows the guidelines set by the Archdioceses of Baltimore. Some of the details, specific to each sacramental preparation are discussed below.
Baptism of Infants & Children
The first Sacrament of Initiation is a joyful event for the many generations of a family. It is a time for the parish community to welcome a new member to Christianity and renew the faith commitment of the parents. Through Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit the new young Christian is freed from sin and joined to the church.
Children under the age of seven are presented by parents and godparents for Baptism. In doing so, the adults speak for the child in professing the faith. Solemn promises are made to faithfully continue the formation of the child in the Catholic Community. Parents who ask that their child be baptized are invited to participate in a process that will help them fulfil these promises and equip them to grow as a Christian family. Regular Mass attendance is expected along with meetings for parents and godparents.
School age children will attend Mass with their parents and participate in the Children's Liturgy of the Word. Additional instruction for children will occur through family faith formation in the home. Children over seven will also be prepared to celebrate their First Eucharist.
First Eucharist Preparation for Youth
Preparation for First Eucharist in the Archdiocese of Baltimore is offered by the parish where a family is an active member. Parents are expected to be regularly attending Mass with their children on the weekends. One year prior to entering First Eucharist formation, children will participate in the Children's Liturgy of the Word during Sunday morning Mass. Children age seven and older who are baptized may then enter into the immediate preparation for the Sacrament of Eucharist. Parents are provided with resource material for the first and second year of preparation to be shared as a family in the home. Catechetical Leaders and catechists will meet with parents and children at family faith formation sessions during the year.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation (Penance) will be introduced during the second year of preparation. It is appropriate to celebrate Reconciliation prior to First Eucharist. A home preparation program is also provided to parents. Catechists will meet with both parents and children to help determine readiness for the sacrament.
First Eucharist is most often celebrated during the Easter season but can be at any time during the church year outside of Lent. Families are given the choice of scheduling First Eucharist at any weekend Mass. Celebrations may be single of multiple up to four families.
First Reconciliation is celebrated on Saturday afternoons at 4:00PM. Single or multiple families up to four may schedule the celebration when preparation is complete.
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Confirmation Preparation for Youth
Young men and women in high school are invited to complete their initiation into the Catholic Church by preparing for the sacrament of Confirmation. In the years after First Eucharist they will have continued to grow in the practice of their faith by regular mass attendance with their families and ongoing formation.
A year of participation in a small faith sharing group is the foundation for the immediate preparation of the sacrament. Within the small group, a candidate for Confirmation will transition from receiving information about the faith to the intentional practice of Christianity through prayer, scripture and sacrament.
In year two the candidate will commit to an internship in service to the parish community. They may choose from among many liturgical, catechetical and social justice ministries. Candidates will experience a weekend retreat and come to recognize their giftedness. When ready they will write to the bishop and ask to be sealed in the Holy Spirit.
Currently we prepare for and celebrate Confirmation with youth candidates jointly from Saint Joan of Arc and Saint Patrick Parishes.