Baptism holds first place among the sacraments, because it is the door of the spiritual life; for by it we are made members of Christ and incorporated with the Church. Thus, Baptism is the sacrament by which a person is first identified as a Christian.
Because of the critical importance of this sacrament, expectant parents should register for Baptismal Preparation Class at least two months prior to the expected birth date of their child. Instructions are mandatory for both parents and godparents.
Adults who would like to become members of the Church and have not previously been baptized are invited to enroll in the parish’s RCIA classes.
Baptisms usually take place during our weekend Masses or as scheduled.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation, commonly known as Confession, or the Sacrament of Penance, is open to children who also are preparing to receive First Holy Communion. The importance of recognizing right from wrong and making responsible choices begins at an early age.
Preparation for First Reconciliation takes place in the second phase of the curriculum of the St. Mary Faith Formation ministry. Older students who have not received this sacrament may receive instructions through this ministry in Special Sacrament Classes.
The RCIA Program is available to adults in need of instruction for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
First Holy Communion
Following Baptism, this sacrament of initiation celebrates fuller participation in the Body of Christ, and allows those who have been baptized to become full participants in the Church’s liturgical life. First Communion must be preceded by First Reconciliation, and preparations for it also takes place in the second grade curriculum of the Faith Formation ministry. For older children preparation for this sacrament is possible through special sacrament classes.
The RCIA program is available to adults who have been baptized and are seeking reception of this sacrament.
Confirmation is the third of the sacraments by which a Catholic is initiated into the practice of the faith. At St. Mary Parish, preparation for Confirmation is a two-year process in Faith Formation. Instructions focus youth on strengthening their baptismal commitment and assuming responsibility for their own religious identity as Catholics. Students enter into the first phase of instruction for this sacrament in the ninth grade and continue through grade ten.
The RCIA Program is available to all adults seeking the reception of this sacrament.
There are three options by which a couple may prepare for marriage.
(1) The Couple-to-Couple ministry, is a program that connects a succesfully married host couple with couples who are preparing for marriage in the church.
A couple contemplating marriage may, after meeting with the pastor, decide to enroll in the “Couple to Couple” program rather than to take a weekend retreat. In this case, they meet with the Coordinators of the program to begin the process. Four meetings are arranged with a host couple to cover the four units in the preparation book Only Love Can Make It Easy.
(2) The couple may attend four evening Diocesan programs in Norwich.
(3) The couple may attend the Engaged Encounter Retreat on a weekend presented by the Diocese of Norwich or the Archdiocese of Hartford. This is the recommended method.
Arrangements must be made with the Rectory one year in advance of the wedding. Married couples who may be interested in participating as mentors in this worthwhile endeavor should contact the Pastor.