P. Antonio Gómez Gamero OP.
Our school offers the possibility to prepare the children to take the First Communion. This sacrament is part of Christian initiation.
To receive the sacrament of the Eucharist (Communion), preparation is very important. During 3rd and 4th of Primary, those who are going to receive the body of Christ for the first time, meet one day a week, for one hour, and outside school hours, with their respective catechists. During this time, extracurricular activities must be secondary to the catechism schedule.
If possible, the group and its catechist will be the same during the two courses. The group will receive communion on the same day and at the same time, so that the boys and girls who form the catechism group will get to know each other better and learn more about Jesus, the Church and the Sacraments. The participation of parents is crucial and necessary. Children like to feel supported by their parents in this process, which also serves as extra preparation. Parents prepare in a different way than their children do. During both courses we offer talks and meetings with the catechists of their children. Attendance at these meetings is absolutely necessary.
The first sacrament to be received in the Church is baptism. Therefore, in order to take First Communion, it is required that the child be baptized. If he or she is not, the parents are informed of the steps they must take.
The day of First Communion is the culmination of the catechetical process. The children look forward to it. The religious celebration has to be the center of this day. It is nice to celebrate with family and friends. The celebration is not at odds with simplicity.
The school's confirmation catechesis is intended to be adapted to the age of your children and to be a gradual process:
In the first year we want the students to deepen their self-knowledge and personal maturity and discover the importance of the group in their life and faith.
In the second year, we will focus on the importance of the knowledge of Jesus Christ as they grow up and mature in faith.
The meaning of Confirmation Catechesis in our School
Confirmation catechesis is an offer that our school provides to all students who wish to initiate a specific process of faith formation. It is one of the ways of expressing the Catholic identity that characterizes our school.
It is a free option, open to all the students of our school who wish to participate, and takes place outside of school hours.
Catechesis is not intended to be just another extracurricular activity (among all those offered by our school): it is intended to be a privileged expression of education in the faith, one of the main objectives of Catholic schools - along with quality teaching.
For Colegio S. Vicente Ferrer de los PP. Dominicos, as a Catholic school, the expression of faith, as followers of Jesus, from the Christian community, the final goal of the journey of personal growth of the student; respecting, at the same time, and at all times, is the freedom of individual choice of each student. This is one of our main concerns and the reason for the existence of our school (cfr. FERE-CECA y EyG: Calidad, Libertad y equidad en la educación).
Confirmation catechesis has a twofold objective:
1. It seeks to encourage an initiation into the faith of their children, adapted to the characteristics appropriate for their age, which takes the form of:
Helping their children to discover the importance of shared faith in a group (which is an introduction to the experience of the Church as a mystery of communion of the faithful).
2. A specific preparation for the sacrament of confirmation. In the third year, we will invite your children, if they are effectively and sufficiently prepared, to decide freely whether they wish to receive the sacrament of Confirmation from the hands of the Bishop, or from one of his delegates.
Since the reception of the sacrament of confirmation is not the only purpose, catechesis has meaning in itself as an initiation into the living out of the faith; regardless of whether or not the student decides to confirm himself or herself at the end.
Duration of Catechesis
In accordance with the pastoral option that we have adopted in our school, Catechetical Confirmation has been extended for three years, as we have deemed appropriate, based on the age of your children.
The catechesis will be initiated in the 3rd of Secondary.
They will continue in 4th of Secondary and will end at the beginning of May of Bachillerato Level 1 at 16 or 17 years old. In some cases, in which the attendance to the catechesis has been insufficient or the catechumen has joined later in the catechetical process, it is possible to request an additional year of catechesis; being confirmed, in this case, in Bachillerato Level 2.
We will form different catechetical groups of 8 to 15 young people who will meet at the end of the classes, either at noon or in the afternoon, on different days of the week. It is intended that these groups be maintained until the celebration of the sacrament.
Throughout the whole catechetical process, the group of catechists, to which your children belong, will be accompanied by one or two catechists. These are confirmed lay people, sufficiently formed as Christians and with religious concern, who, for the service of the Gospel and the Church, freely and generously carry out this work of accompanying their sons and daughters. This group of catechists is made up of teachers, former students, parents, members of the Dominican family and other people who are close to our school. They are coordinated at all times by the delegate of pastoral, Antonio Gomez Gamero OP.
The figure of the catechist-teacher has its importance. It is very convenient that they know that a believer is a normal person who has a job that does not have to be directly related to questions of faith, and that, independent of this job, they can do this voluntary work of transmission and education of the faith in catechesis. Logically, this double dedication (ordinary teaching and catechesis of faith) are not to be confused, on the contrary, they are mutually enriching. The approach is analogous to that of the Dominican friars who work in the school: you can perfectly combine being a professional teacher and a religious figure concerned about education in the faith, without confusing the two areas. On the contrary, they should complement each other. Something similar can be said about catechists-university students or catechists-professionals or catechists-family.
Confirmation is a sacrament administered by the Catholic Church. It is the third Christian sacrament, by which baptized persons are fully integrated as members of the community.
In our center, students are prepared and trained for 3 years to receive this sacrament. The ceremony is held in our Basilica.
Confirmation is not intended to be a point of arrival, but the end of a stage of Christian development. In Bachillerato Level 2, we will offer the possibility of joining groups post-confirmation which can be extended into the post-bachillerato, university or professional stage.
The weekend retreat of all the same-level catechesis groups is celebrated together. There is at least one retreat at the beginning of each school year and a second retreat during the middle of the year. At the second retreat 3rd and 4th of Secondary and Bachillerato Level 1 (1st, 2nd and 3rd of catechesis) will be together. The first retreat will be around October or November and the second will be held in April or May. Dates will be announced throughout the year.
These are not simply retreats, but meetings that help to unite the groups and that are very important in order to reinforce the faith and participation of their children in catechesis. When setting the date of the retreat, the exam schedule is taken into account and conflicting schedules will be avoided. Participation in all retreats is important. There are moments of work, reflection, individual and group sharing, as well as leisure activities, which are also important. We ask for the cooperation of the parents not to punish their children when they receive a bad grade, for example.
Regular student attendance at catechesis (both weekly meetings and retreats) are very important. Attendance at catechesis should be given as much importance as attending a class during school hours. We ask parents to work with the programme to encourage them not to miss catechesis.
When the absence is excused, we will ask, in writing, for parental permission. Four unexcused absences in catechesis sessions or in any of the retreats will involve additional work. A repeated unexcused absence will also mean another year of catechesis.
On Sundays at 8 pm we celebrate the Eucharist especially for young people with active participation on their part and that of catechists and students. It is a joyful celebration and a great community gathering to encourage young people in the participation of the Eucharist.