I hope that you are well. We are now very close to the celebration of the sacrament of First Holy Communion for the children in 3rd class in our school. The children have been working very hard at home and in school to prepare for their First Holy Communion and I know that the hard work will pay off.
As you know, the sacrament was the subject of repeated delays and postponements over the course of this year, which created considerable disappointment for many. The parish team have put a huge amount of work in ensuring that the delayed sacraments were administered to all who missed out in a safe and timely manner. This started with First Confessions, then Confirmations, all of which were carefully planned by the parish team to ensure compliance with Public Health measures and the safety of all in attendance.
I do not need to remind you that the incidence of Covid-19 in the community is at its highest rates since the parish began this programme of administering the sacraments. This creates a special onus on us all to make sure that the our First Holy Communion Masses are celebrated as safely as possible, and that parents co-operate fully with all measures put in place by the parish. I want to remind you of these arrangements:
Arrangements for the next Saturday
First Communion for the pupils in Mary, Mother of Hope Senior School will be celebrated at two Masses this Saturday the 13th November.
Please remember that the Masses will take place in the Sacred Heart of Jesus church in Huntstown- we don’t want families arriving in the wrong venue!!
The Masses, with two classes at each Mass, will be celebrated at the following times:
Ms. Traver’s class & Ms. McKeown’s class: 12 noon
Mr. McGeough’s class & Ms. Goodwin’s class: 2pm
Covid-19 Prevention Measures in place
The parish team have asked me to inform parents that the celebration of Communion will be organized with strict Covid-19 prevention measures in place. These include the following provisions:
- No more than 5 people in the Communion party:
the child receiving the sacrament
max of 4 adults (no children other than those receiving First Holy Communion can be facilitated in the church)
- Masks must be worn by all adults at all times inside the church
- Pupils making their First Holy Communion do not need to wear face masks in the church.
- No other family members can be facilitated in the church on the day
- Pupils will remain in their family pod for the entire duration of the Mass, and will receive their First Holy Communion directly from the priest at their seats.
- Members of the parish team and the teaching staff in the school will be in attendance on the day to help and support the pupils and their families at the Mass, and to guide families to their seats.
Time of Arrival:
Remember there are two Masses on the day, and we will need to give the parish team time to prepare for both Masses. Parents are asked to arrive at the church no earlier than 20 minutes before the start of the Mass, and to be seated at least 10 minutes before it starts.
Music in the church: Due to Covid-19 restrictions and capacity issues, the school choir will not be able to perform on the day. However, we have organised for a group of musicians to provide music at both Masses. This was a great success at our Confirmation Masses and we look forward to their presences with us again on Saturday.
Full Mass will be on Projector Screen: There will be no Mass booklets on the day, but every part of the Mass will be projected on the screens in the church in a powerpoint presentation. This included every detail of the Mass, including all the readings, prayers and responses. Teachers in the school have been sharing this powerpoint with the children for a number of weeks now, and they will be familiar with the different sections of the Mass.
Masses will be broadcast live on Parish Webcam: Both Masses will be broadcast live on the parish webcam. Please feel free to share the link with wider family members:
Leaving the Church when the Mass is over: As stated above, the parish team will need to set the church up for subsequent Masses, so parents and children are asked to leave the church as soon as their Mass is ended. You are asked not to congregate either in the church or outside the building at the end of Mass. This is important not only from a public health perspective, but also to allow the parish team to prepare for the next Mass.
No official photographers: As a consequence of this, no official photographer will be in attendance to take photographs on the day. While this may be disappointing, it is in in the interest of the smooth running of the ceremonies.
Celebration in school next Monday: Next Monday, the 15th November, will be a normal school day. Children should come to school in their school uniform as normal at 8:50 for a full school day. We will, however, have a celebration in each classroom on Monday afternoon to mark the special occasion with the children and their teachers.
I am delighted that the final arrangements are now in place for First Holy Communion and I wish you and your child the very best in their final preparations. We will continue to work closely with the parish to make sure that our children are fully prepared for their First Holy Communion and that it is celebrated in a safe and memorable way.
I want to express my thanks to all the parish team for the huge amount of thought, work and effort they have put into the planning and preparation for all the Sacraments in the parish, especially for our First Holy Communion candidates. Equally, I want to express my gratitude to the staff in the school who have been diligently preparing the children for their First Confessions and First Holy Communion.
It just remains for me to wish you well ahead of Saturday and I look forward to celebrating this important milestone with your children.