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There are three Sacraments of Initiation, or belonging, through which people become full members of the Body of Christ, the Church. These sacraments include Baptism, First Communion, and Confirmation.
Sacrament of Baptism
The practice of infant baptism began in the early church as parents wanted to pass along their faith and values to their children. Today infant baptism is available to children under the age of reason or about seven.
The Church requires that parents are duly prepared for the baptism. Therefore, a preparation session is provided before the baptism of your child. Godparents are invited to join in the preparation sessions, if possible. Godparents (sponsors) play a very important role in the spiritual life of your child. They should serve as role models of the faith. They not only support your child but also the parents in their role as Christian parents.
Baptisms at OLV are generally held on the second and fourth Sundays of the month (except during Advent and Lent).
Sacramental Preparation for School-Age Children
Sacramental preparation programs at OLV are family and parish-based and are complemented by the teaching the children receive in our Catholic schools. Both the First Reconciliation/First Communion and the Confirmation programs commence each fall with parent meetings. Information regarding the meeting schedules and the programs is communicated via the parish bulletin and Sunday announcements, the parish website and the Saint Mary School newsletter. Parents seeking additional information are encouraged to contact the parish office. Parents are reminded that children can only receive the sacraments if they have been first been baptized. A copy of your child’s baptismal certificate is required to register for sacramental preparation.
New team members for sacramental preparation programs are most welcome. All that is required is a desire to help children and their parents through these important stages of their faith. Join the team now: click here to complete our online Volunteer Form.
The sacramental preparation committee members and our parish priest work together with grade 2 teachers at St. Mary School to support the children in their faith journey. This program is made up of several components: regular attendance at Mass, the Rite of Welcoming (where candidates are officially welcomed into the parish program), completion of worksheets that provide teaching about each sacrament, and Mass activity sheets. Although usually celebrated in grade two, these sacraments are not tied to a specific age or grade but rather best celebrated when the parents assess the child is ready. First Reconciliation is held in winter and First Communion is generally celebrated in spring, during the Easter season.
In the Ottawa Archdiocese, children in grade 6 and above who have completed First Reconciliation and First Communion are eligible for the Confirmation preparation program. The sacramental preparation committee and our parish priest work together with grade six teachers to prepare the children for Confirmation. Components of the program include Rite of Welcoming, attendance at Mass, completion of the Confirmation worksheets, reconciliation, and a confirmation retreat.
The Confirmation Mass with the bishop or archbishop is generally held in the spring.
High school students may choose to be confirmed with grade 6 students or at a special Confirmation ceremony for older teens and adults organized annually by the Archdiocese.