We welcome back our school community to a new academic year.
As you are probably aware St Michael and St John’s school is oversubscribed and no longer able to accommodate all the Catholic children living within its catchment area.
As a result of the increasing number of houses being built in Clitheroe this situation will grow more acute. So we must adapt to ensure that children who are unable to attend a Catholic school will have the opportunity of joining the diocesan preparation programme for the reception of First Holy Communion and the sacraments of Confirmation and Reconciliation.
A new programme will begin after a preliminary meeting with parents of children who attend both our school and other non-Catholic schools in the area and who wish their children in Year 3 (and above) to receive their first Holy Communion in June next year. At the meeting I shall explain the new arrangement which is outlined below and which is based on the principle that parents are their children’s primary teachers of the faith. Parents must then apply in writing to join the course.
Excluding December, children and parents will attend a monthly 9.30 Sunday Mass and afterwards for half an hour children will meet with their catechists. Parents will meet with one of the priests. During the second period of half an hour parents will join their children and help them complete some simple exercises. Then the following Sunday all will attend the 9.30 Mass to celebrate some aspect of what they learned the previous week.
I do not hide the fact that this new arrangement will demand commitment and sacrifice on the part of both children and parents. Where that commitment is not made then the family will be asked to leave the programme.
During the past couple of years at both the Olympic and Commonwealth games we have seen something of the commitment and sacrifice made by the participating athletes, abled and disabled alike, in order to win a medal. During this important year as our children prepare to receive the greatest gift of all, the Eucharistic Body of Jesus himself, then they and their parents must be prepared to prioritise this programme above all other activities. The choice is theirs.