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  Echoing the Word August 2016  
  Vol. 15 No. 4 Sacramental Preparation Programs    
A Glimpse into the Heart of God
In this first of his two part article, John Frauenfelder explores the sacraments of Baptism, Reconciliation, Eucharist and Confirmation. The sacraments invite us on a journey of holiness, where we glimpse the heart of God.
 Editorial
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Sacramental Preparation Programs
One of the distinguishing characteristics of Catholicism is our sense of sacrament and sacramentality, so it follows that the preparation of children for the reception of the sacraments is of significant importance.
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 Scripture
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Some "Adults Only" Texts for Reflecting On Baptism
Stuart Moran focuses on two Scripture texts in his reflections on Baptism: the Ethiopian official in Acts and the Samaritan woman at the well. The texts reveal something of our understanding of Baptism as the two main characters are changed by their respective encounters.
 
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 Liturgies & Activities
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A Brief History of Confirmation
Paul Taouk offers a brief outline of the development of the sacrament of Confirmation.
 
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Celebrating Our Sacramental View of the World
Sacramentality is central to the Catholic identity. Jennifer Callanan reminds us that we can encounter God through the medium of our life experience. It is within this context that we celebrate the Catholic sacraments.
 
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Confirmation
Paul Taouk offers a brief two page handout for parent, on the sacrament of Confirmation.
 
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Examination of Conscience
Anne Victor offers a simple process for helping children reflect on their day. Green, blue and red beads help children think about the day’s experiences which were happy, sad and in need of forgiveness.
 
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How do People See Signs of The Presence of God in Our World?
Beth Nolen’s activity helps students reflect on how they experience the presence of God in their lives. Students are encouraged to create a collage of “sacramental moments”.
 
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Reconciliation
Paul Taouk offers a brief handout for parent, on the sacrament of Reconciliation.
 
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The Development of the Sacrament of Reconciliation
Paul Taouk offers a brief outline of the development of the sacrament of Reconciliation.
 
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The Eucharist
Paul Taouk offers a brief two page handout for parent, on the Eucharist.
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The Sacraments: An Introduction
One of the key characteristics of the Catholicism is the sacramental worldview. Paul Taouk offers a one page introduction to the sacraments for parents.
 
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Water: God's Gift
Anne Victor’s activity focuses on Baptism. Children begin with their experience of water as life-giving, cleansing and refreshing before focusing on water as a symbol of Baptism.
 
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What's So Special About a Meal?
Beginning with children’s experience of sharing a meal, Beth Nolen’s activity explores the Eucharist in the early Church and today. Children are encouraged to reflect on why we share stories and why Catholics choose to go to Mass on a Sunday.
 
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  Featured Articles
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A Glimpse into the Heart of God
Part 2
In this second of his two part article, John Frauenfelder continues his focus on the sacraments with the question: What constitutes a sound sacramental program? He explores the roles of parish and family in this important endeavour of preparing children for the sacraments.
 
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Sacramental Preparation
Parish Profiles
Louise Svensdotter and Tosca Galluzzo present a profile of their respective parishes and how they structure their sacramental programs. Each attempts to respond to the local community and context of their parish.
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  Theology
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Baptised in Christ
Denise Braddon focuses on the sacraments of initiation and how they are celebrated in the Church. Baptised in the name of the Trinity, we are confirmed in the Spirit and come to the table to participate in the Eucharist as full members of the Church.
 
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Sacraments in Complex Cultures
Confusion of Meaning
We are called to teach and preach in the language and in the context of those we are inviting to celebrate the sacraments. Tony Densley looks at the challenge of celebrating and preparing people for the sacraments in our western twenty-first century context.
 
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  Reviews & Resources
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Children's Literature
Jan Grajczonek reviews The Ricker Racker Club by Patrick Guest, Out by Angela May George and Own Swan, and Beth: The Story of a Child Convict by Mark Wilson.
 
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Resources for Religious Education
Melanie Dooner reviews resources from two Australian sacramental program series: the Becoming Catholic sacramental program series by Kathy Horan and the Celebrating Our Lives sacramental program series by Michael Trainor.
 
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  Social Justice
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The Eucharist and Social Action
Peter Arndt reminds us of the connection between celebrating Eucharist and outreach. Transformed by the celebration of the Eucharist we are sent to be Christ in the world in the way we care for the marginalised and poor.
 
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  For the Catechist
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Sacramental Preparation and Faith Formation
Alison Newell reminds us of the important role of parents in nurturing faith in children. She looks at the relationship between sacramental preparation and ongoing faith formation of Catholics. Both are central ministries in the parish.
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Tips for a Life-Giving Sacramental Experience
Teaching Tips
Alison Newell offers a useful list of “essentials” for a sacramental program. From who should be involved in the program to rituals that can be included, the ideas presented, while potentially challenging, can lead to a fruitful sacramental program.
 
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  Movies
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X + Y
Jan Epstein reviews the engaging story of Nathan in the movie X + Y, a story that deals with the challenges of being different.
 
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