IMG_8262Baptism: St. Michael Parish believes the family, the domestic church, is the most important Christian influence on BAPTISM2atheir children. It is in the home that a child first encounters love and trust. It is through this lived experience that children first perceive a loving God in Whom they can place their trust. In this way, faith is born. Baptismal promises, made by parents on their children's behalf, like seeds of faith, take root and start to grow. Welcome to the Waters, a Baptism preparation program, supports new parents raising children in faith. Welcome to the Waters meets periodically during the year; pre-registration is required. Class size is limited. Call the Parish Center (908-276-0360) to schedule a Baptism date and register for the preparation session. For more information, click here and use the Sacraments dropdown menu on the St. Michael’s Religious Education website.

Reconciliation: As second-grade children approach the sacrament of Reconcilliation for the first time, they are in the early stages of their faith development. Family members are privileged to journey with their children as they prepare for the celebration of this Sacrament. An at-home text, Making Things Right (Our Sunday Visitor), is designed to help children prepare for their first sacramental experience of God's love and mercy. It guides the family in helping the child come to a deeper understanding and appreciation of the Sacrament and its place in their lives. For more information, click here and use the Sacraments dropdown menu on the St. Michael’s Religious Education website.

IMG_8471Eucharist: First Holy Communion is received during the Easter season in second grade after the child has satisfactorily completed two years of religious education. Parents are involved in the Sacrament preparation process because the Church views the role of parents in the religious formation of their children as both a privilege and obligation. Catholic Church states that children are required to have sufficient knowledge and careful preparation so as to understand the mystery of Christ according to their capacity and so that they receive the Body of the Lord with devotion. First, a child must know that this bread and wine have become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ - that Jesus is truly present. Second, a child must have sufficient preparation to allow for reception of the Eucharist with appropriate devotion and reverence. For more information, click here and use the Sacraments dropdown menu on the St. Michael’s Religious Education website.

Confirmation: Confirmation is regarded as the perfection of Baptism, because, as the Introduction to the Rite of Confirmation states: "by the sacrament of Confirmation, [the baptized] are more perfectly bound to the Church and are enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit. Hence they are, as true witnesses of Christ, more strictly obliged to spread and defend the faith by word and deed. Confirmation is conferred upon candidates in the fall of ninth grade, following the successful completion of a two-year preparation program. Older teens and adults considering Confirmation should contact the Parish office regarding the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) program. For more information on the sacraments in general, click here and use the Sacraments dropdown menu on the St. Michael’s Religious Education website.

Marriage: PRE-CANA: Pre-Cana is part of our marriage preparation program. It is generally held the first Saturday of March for the entire day, with a few meetings leading up to it in order to prepare. Our team is a group of married couples who are dedicated to making the day an enjoyable, spiritual, and educational one for our engaged couples. We hope to prepare them for the wonderful journey they are about to embark on. Our volunteers serve many roles throughout the day. New volunteers and team members are always welcome.

FOCCUS: The FOCCUS inventory is one of the three preparation programs required of those couples preparing for the Sacrament of Marriage in the Catholic Church, FOCCUS is an acronym for “facilitating open couple communication, understanding and study”. Completing the FOCCUS questionnaire enables the couple to openly explore their relationship through their responses to a series of statements, which are completed during the first of two FOCCUS sessions. At the second session the couples’ answers are reviewed and discussed with a volunteer Sponsor Couple. The FOCCUS committee at St. Michael consists of Sponsor Couples, married couples who volunteer to administer and review the FOCCUS survey. They also assist the couple in planning their marriage ceremony and arranging and implementing wedding rehearsals. St. Michael’s FOCCUS committee meets one Friday evening a month September to June. New members are always welcome.