First Reconciliation/Eucharist

First Eucharist Rehearsal Video

Sacrament Policy

A child normally receives the Sacraments of First Reconciliation and First Eucharist (First Holy Communion) during Grade 2 (age 7). It is a 2 year program that begins in Grade 1. This first catechetical year provides for a child to receive adequate knowledge of the Catholic faith in order understand the sacraments they will be celebrating the following year.

In accordance with the policies of the Diocese of Trenton, a child must celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation prior to the celebration of First Holy Communion. St. Paul Parish generally celebrates communal First Reconciliation services in the Fall of grade 2. First Holy Communion is celebrated during the Easter Season at special liturgies at the end of April or the beginning of May. Parents may also choose to celebrate their child's First Holy Communion at a regularly scheduled Sunday mass during Easter.

In addition to their learning in a catechetical setting (i.e., religious education program, catholic school, home schooling), a child preparing for these sacraments is expected to participate in proximate preparation activities. This includes two Saturday retreats, one for each sacrament.

We recognize that families face many challenges, if you child is enrolled in a higher grade and has not received these sacraments  please contact the Religious Education Office for more formational options.

Announcements

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These are the safety precautions in place for our celebration of First Eucharist this Fall.

Social Distancing
Current Diocesan regulations indicate that churches may seat a maximum of 33% of their typical occupancy in order to ensure adequate social distancing. St. Paul is currently set for a maximum of 58 households of four or fewer. Each household (of ≤ 4) will be seated in a green outlined "box".This arrangement keeps the church occupancy below 33% of our typical maximum and ensures social distancing between households.
  • Families will be limited to bringing only the student receiving the sacrament and two parents. In order to ensure safety, we cannot make exceptions to this rule for siblings, grandparents, etc. Please note, all celebrations will be live streamed on our parish website so that extended families may view.
  • Seating will be assigned ahead of time.
  • There will be no procession at the beginning or end of sacramental celebrations; families will arrive together and be immediately seated. Please plan to remain in your "box" (to the best of your ability) for the duration of your time inside the church.
  • Due to Diocesan guidelines, families may not take group pictures in church or on campus. Limited pictures from your seat will be permitted.


Face Coverings
In order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and in keeping with state and Diocesan regulations, face coverings (i.e., masks) must be worn for the duration of time on campus. Face coverings must cover both the nose and the mouth.
  • Masks must be work for the entirety of Mass with the exception of personal reception of the Eucharist
  • Clergy and ministers may have masks removed while on the altar (apart from the congregation), but will wear them during the of the distribution of Communion.
  • Those without face coverings will not be permitted to enter the church
  • If coverings are being worn improperly (e.g., not fully covering both nose and mouth) you will be reminded of proper use
Read more about Safety Policies for the Celebration of First Eucharist

The Office of Religious Education has determined that we will begin our year remotely. This decision will also apply to sacramental formation. The best guidance available to us from the Diocesan and Civil authorities, suggests that this is the best course of action at this time.

During our Summer Academy program in July we provided support to parents as they reviewed lessons with their children utilizing online resources such as videos, digital text, and family lesson plans. Families were also accompanied by a volunteer that I call a catechetical concierge. As parents discussed lessons with their children these volunteers assigned activities, reviewed assessments, and even offered video calls for the parents and children to connect.

Whether you are registered for Family Home Study, Sunday PREP, or Tuesday PREP you will be provided with these materials to begin the year. If circumstances change and we are able to offer in-person classes later this year, families enrolled in the Sunday or Tuesday sessions will be given the option to return or to remain remote. All those that wish to remain remote for the entire year are encouraged to register for Family Home Study.

Read more about 2020-2021 Parish Religious Education Program Will Begin Remotely

Our Pastoral Team has been able to reschedule the sacramental celebrations that needed to be postponed in the spring due to COVID-19. All of our sacramental celebrations are being carefully planned to be in full compliance with both Diocesan and state regulations in order to ensure the health and safety of our students and families. We appreciate your patience as we worked diligently to come up with our parish's plan and are grateful we can continue to count on your support as we approach these monumental days in our students' lives.

For more information about the current regulations in place for the celebration of the Mass and Sacraments, please visit our parish website (or watch our video) and/or the Diocesan website. If these regulations change before our celebrations of these Sacraments occur, we will adapt our celebrations as necessary in order to remain in full compliance.

First Eucharist Celebrations

First Holy Communion celebrations are scheduled for 9:30 AM and 11:30 AM on Saturday mornings in September and October. Please see below for the schedule of dates. If you have a question about the date/time you are assigned or need to make a change, please contact the Office of Religious Education.

All precautions that are taken for Sunday Mass will be in place at our First Eucharist celebrations.

Sept 12 @ 9:30am: St. Paul School Students

Sept 19 @ 9:30am Hispanic PREP Students

Oct 3 @ 9:30am Home Study & Catch-Up

Oct 3 @ 11:30am Sunday PREP & Stuart Country Day School Students

Oct 10 @ 9:30am Tuesday PREP & Princeton Academy Students

Oct 10 @ 11:30am by request and only as needed

Read more about Sacrament Update For First Eucharist and Reconciliation

Schools of the Diocese of Trenton will be closed through May 8, 2020. Therefore, the celebration of First Eucharist will need to be postponed until it has been determined to be safe to gather once again.

Parish staff will continue to meet remotely, and monitor the situation. Please know that whatever option we pursue, steps will be made to assure that this is a special experience for the children.

We will keep you updated as more information becomes available.
Read more about First Eucharist Update: Postponement

First Eucharist Retreat

Dear Parents:

I said a special prayer for you and your families this Saturday morning, when we would have gathered for our First Eucharist Retreat. I wish we could have all been together at that time. However, it is important that we all remain healthy and safe.

Before the governor signed his "stay at home" order this weekend, we extended the invitation to come to the office to pick up retreat materials. In light of current circumstances, that will not be an option, so I am providing materials linked in this email. Even if you've picked up student materials, these may be helpful because I've included catechist materials as well.

Part 1. Introductory Rites

Part 2. Liturgy of the Word

Part 3. Liturgy of the Eucharist

Part 4. Concluding Rites

We will make banner materials available as the situation and public policy allows.

As of now we are still planning to move forward as scheduled with First Eucharist Rehearsals and Celebrations. We are monitoring the situation and will let you know where things stand as information becomes available.

Please know that your families are in my prayers. Even as our offices are closed, I am here to support you and your family in faith and sacramental formation. I can always be reached by email: jmcguire@stpaulsofprinceton.org and by phone: 609.524.0509 (Office) 609.759-0678 (Remote).

In Christ, 
John Michael McGuire

Private Catholic School Families

If your child is enrolled in a Princeton area private Catholic School, are registered parishioners of St. Paul and wish your child to receive these sacraments, please register them by clicking here or the registration link at right.

Contacts

John McGuire
Director
Office of Religious Education
(609) 524-0509

Mrs. Maureen Sano
Administrative Assistant
(609)524-0510

Office Hours

Monday through Thursday
9:00 am to 4:30 pm
Friday
9:00 am to 1:00 pm
And by appointment.

Links

Private Catholic School Registration

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