Baptism Preparation

Your questions answered in preparing your child for Baptism.

Children's Liturgy

Find out how we help our children get more out of Mass and get to know Jesus.  

Sacramental Programme

Preparing your children for Reconciliation and First Holy Communion

Confirmation

The importance of the Holy Spirit in our lives as Missionary Disciples

RCIA

Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults

How do I become Catholic?

Youth and Young Adults

"Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire" - St Catherine of Siena

Ongoing Faith Formation

Come along to one of our programmes and let's deepen our understanding of the faith together. 

Baptism

Baptisms During the Present Time: Please read all of the information below carefully

We, the church family, are a community that is founded on faith in God through a relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ, in the Holy Spirit. This relationship is established when we are baptised by which we are given all we need to share God's life with Him and to know, with the certainty given by Christ through the Church, that our lives are lived under the loving gaze of God. For this reason the Baptism of a child is a very important moment in the life of any family.

Pope Francis reminds parents who bring their children to be baptised of their duty to pass on the faith to their children:

“Today, carry this thought home with you. We must be transmitters of the faith. Think of this, think always of how to hand on the faith to your children. These children are links in a chain. You have a baby son or daughter to be baptised, but in several years, it will be they that have a baby to baptise, or a grandchild and so, the chain of faith! Parents, above all, have the task of raising children in the faith in which they were baptised. The faith then becomes the greatest gift a child is given. It is the most beautiful inheritance that you can give them: the faith!”
[Pope Francis, 2014]

Pope Francis is reminding us that there is much more to having a child baptised than simply the baptism itself. He wants parents to reflect on and accept the great privilege they have as first teachers of their child in the ways of faith. And so, arranging a Baptism is about much more than deciding on the date and time. We want to invite you to use this opportunity to reflect on your own life of faith and begin thinking about how you will hand that on to your child.

Preparing for the Baptism typically will involve two meetings with one of our priests or catechists separated by at least a month during which time you will be asked to reflect on some important questions about Baptism and what it means for your life, the life of your child and your family. No dates for Baptisms will be offered until the preparation is complete. If you have got out of the habit of attending Mass regularly, it would be a good idea to start again before contacting the priests as this will be an essential part of your preparation and your life of faith as a family after the Baptism.

During this time, while infection rates of COVID-19 are still high in this area, our primary concern is to ensure everyone's safety. 

The Diocese continues to provide guidance based on the road map set out by the government for the easing of restrictions and urges a cautious approach which maintains the good practices established to keep everyone safe (in particular people are asked to be guided by our stewards, wear facemasks (unless exempt), maintain social distancing and sanitise their hands on entry). Baptisms can be attended up to the "Covid Capacity" of each church. Please discuss your intended number of guests with one of our priests during your preparation.

Given the degree of uncertainty that still exists while infection rates are high, we are not making plans for Baptisms more than 3 months in advance. 

If you would like to begin preparing, please contact the priests to request an initial meeting by email at priests@ourladyofhope.org.uk or phone on 0161 736 2696. The priests will explain how the process will begin.

Children's Liturgy

When conditions allow, our 9.30am and 11am Sunday morning Masses both include a “children’s liturgy of the Word” led by our parishioners who have experience working with children and a passion for passing on the faith to them. At those Masses children in year 3 and below are invited to take part in their own Liturgy of the Word which brings to life the message of the Gospel with teaching and activities appropriate for their age. Come along, encourage your children to take part and let us help you pass on the faith to your children. Older children are invited to get more involved in the Liturgy at Sunday Mass by serving on the altar or offering their talents to sing in our choirs (any age) or read (year 6 and above). If your child is interested in helping to serve the parish in this way, please get in touch by email at priests@ourladyofhope.org.uk or phone on 0161 736 2696.

At the present time, due to the virus related restrictions in place, the Children’s Liturgy is suspended as is singing in Church and reading by anyone other than the priest. We hope to have all these things back in place as soon as conditions allow. For the time being we are publishing a Children’s Liturgy resource each week for you to work through with your families together at home. Please click here Children's Liturgy.

Sacramental Programme

“The celebration of the Eucharist is the source and summit of the Christian life” (Lumen Gentium, 11)

Each year children are prepared for the Sacraments of Reconciliation (Confession) and First Holy Communion (Eucharist). The whole community helps to prepare our children to receive these Sacraments and to celebrate with them and their families at Mass when they receive the Body of Our Lord in the Sacrament of Holy Communion for the first time.

Parents are the first and best teachers of their children in the ways of faith. If your child is already familiar with the Mass, the weeks before the preparation for First Holy Communion and Reconciliation are your opportunity to teach them a little more about the love of Christ to be found in the Sacraments. It is also the time for parents to take a further step in fulfilling the promise they made at their child’s Baptism to bring them up in the practice of the Faith.

In 2019, we began to use new teaching materials for the Sacramental Programme, published by Redemptorist Publications, and called “I Belong”. The material is designed for parents to work through with their children so that they can grow in faith together. This is supplemented by sessions led by our catechists for the children after Sunday Mass and short sessions for parents, also after Sunday Mass, to help them prepare to lead their children through the material on their own. The title of the materials, “I Belong” in itself carries the most important lesson from the whole programme. You do belong. This is your parish, your home and will be the home for you and your children long after they have grown up and left school. First Holy Communion is another moment in the faith journey where the roots of faith are strengthened and established in a specific place: this place, where your children and your whole family will come to know Jesus’ personal love for you expressed most fully in the gift of himself, His body and Blood received for the first time at first Holy Communion.

Sacramental Programme for 2020-21

Due to the ongoing restrictions in place our sacramental programme will be adapted to ensure that our children can be prepared for the sacraments safely. For children who are at St Luke's School, information about the programme will be made available through the school's communication channels. If your child is not in year 3 at St Luke's primary school, is a Catholic, year 3 or above and has not yet made their first Holy Communion, please read the information below and make contact with us if you wish to register your child as part of the programme for 2020-21. We can be contacted by email at priests@ourladyofhope.org.uk or telephone on 0161 736 2696.

For families of children who are not at St Luke's RC Primary School:

1) There are several children who, with their families, are part of our parish community but are not at St Luke's primary school. Very often, these families have strong links with Ss Peter and Paul church and many of them attend St Mary's primary school in Eccles or other local schools;

2) Due to the restrictions in place we are limited with how we can go about the sacramental programme this year at the present time;

3) We have however invested in materials which are designed for parents to lead their children through it. There is a hard back book for the child and a parents' guide to help parents;

4) For these children, as we are unable to meet for the time being, parents will need to be prepared to do the lion's share of the work at home with the children. We will provide the two books;

5) Where possible and safe, we will try to gather this smaller group together (probably parents and children together), although this will depend on the government restrictions in place and will be announced closer to the time. Alternatively we may arrange for online sessions.

For all our families:

1) We will provide a timeline to keep progress on track and also produce a short video for parents for each chapter to explain the main theme and the content in the books;

2) Of course, parents and families are welcome to come to Mass since our churches are open. There is no "obligation" to come to Mass at the moment and it is entirely up to the family to decide. You should only do so if you feel it is safe. If you feel you are not able to come to church at the moment, Masses from St Luke's church are streamed at 6.30pm on Saturday evening and 9.30am on Sunday morning and can be viewed on our facebook page.

3) Very provisionally we are looking at dates in early July for First Holy Communion Masses, which will be offered in both of our churches. Again, depending on restrictions these dates may be deferred.  We will monitor carefully restrictions that may still be in place then and it may be that guest numbers will be limited.

If you wish to register your child for the programme, please contact us using the contact information above as soon as possible.

Confirmation

From Easter 2021 Bishop John will begin administering the Sacrament of Confirmation for young people again following a change in the minimum age requirement to 13 and above (year 8). Children entering into year 8, and those who are older but are not yet confirmed, will be eligible to receive the Sacrament.

Confirmation “confirms” and completes Baptism and by it the baptised are more perfectly bound to the Church and enriched with a special strength of the Holy Spirit. Every baptised person not yet confirmed can and should receive the Sacrament of Confirmation.

Each candidate for confirmation is required to take part in a preparation programme. In the Salford Deanery of St John the Evangelist, made up of 8 parishes across Salford, the programme of preparation for the Sacrament of Confirmation will be led by Sr Anna Yeo, FDC, who has been employed by the Deanery as its Confirmation and Youth Ministry Coordinator.

The current plan for this initial year, which is subject to change as we continue to adapt to government safety regulations, envisages that the programme will be based in the parish. It is intended that the programme will be made up of 12 units ordered in particular towards helping our young people to develop their relationship with the Lord and to find their home in the parish community. If conditions allow, the units will be led from St Luke’s church centre at times to be determined. If government restrictions do not allow for face to face meetings, the programme will be delivered online.

If your child is going into year 8 or above and is not confirmed, you may register them on the programme by contacting us on formation@ourladyofhope.org.uk.

If you wish to discuss any aspect of the programme or your child’s involvement, please contact the priests by email at priests@ourladyofhope.org.uk.

Youth and Young Adults

Pope Francis speaks to young people as the “Now of God” and challenges them to “swim against the tide”, “against this culture that sees everything as temporary and that ultimately believes that you are incapable of responsibility, incapable of true love”.

If you are a “youth” (13-18) or “young adult” (18-25) we want to hear from you about how we can help you in your faith journey. Our Lady of Hope parish is your home and always will be. Can you be the person to establish the foundations that will help you and your friends grow in faith here and serve others into the future? We are here to help and support you. Contact us by email on priests@ourladyofhope.org.uk.

Please follow the Diocesan youth department here https://www.dioceseofsalford.org.uk/youth/ as well as on instagram and facebook.

RCIA

“The joy of the gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness and loneliness. With Christ joy is constantly born anew.” (Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium)

With these words Pope Francis began his first teaching document to the Church and to the World. The Pope wanted to emphasise that Christianity is about joy and freedom. People discover this at different stages of their life, sometimes prompted by external events, sometimes sensed over a long period of time, sometimes through their encounters with others, and it can lead them to explore becoming a Christian or entering into full communion with the Catholic Church.

Becoming a Catholic involves receiving what together are called the Sacraments of Initiation, namely Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Communion. Once received the new Christian is able to take part fully in the life of the Church. For someone who is already a Christian, baptised in another recognised church community, the process described below would be adapted to reflect the fact that Baptism would normally not be necessary.

Becoming a Christian in the Catholic Church or entering into full communion with her is not something to be taken lightly and usually involves a time of thinking it over carefully before beginning a more deliberate process of preparation.

The Church has a long established process of adult Christian initiation based on the ancient practice of the gradual preparation through a series of stages or periods. These periods are marked by a number of rites which indicate their beginning and end. The whole process has the name the “Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults” (RCIA).

The process begins with a period of “evangelisation” or to give it its more technical name, “Pre- catechumenate”. This has no fixed duration and is a time for exploration and becoming familiar with basic Gospel and Church teaching. This period can involve personal reflection and prayer, open conversations with other Christians and priests, reading and watching introductory material and attending appropriate educational events.

At some point during this time an individual, together with a catechist or priest, may determine that the time is right for them to formally begin the period of the “Catechumenate”. The movement of a person into the Catechumenate is marked by the Rite of Acceptance into the Order of Catechumens, which involves the individual, who by the rite becomes a “catechumen”, expressing their intention to respond to God’s call to follow the way of Christ. A Catechumen is one who is receiving instruction and the rite begins a formal process of instruction in the ways of the faith. It is a time for an adult to deepen their understanding of the teachings of Christ through his Church aided by the community, and to put them into practice in their lives.

The duration of the period of Cathechumenate will depend on the candidate and their growth in the faith and conversion to God. Reflections on the Word of God and particular prayers are designed to help in this growth and conversion process.

The end of the period of Catechumenate is marked by the Rite of Election which usually takes place on the first Sunday of Lent at the Cathedral. At this rite catechumens from around the Diocese gather, the Church formally ratifies their readiness to receive the Sacraments of Initiation and the catechumens express their will to receive these Sacraments. The catechumens now become the “elect”.

Next follows a period of “Purification and Enlightenment”, which normally corresponds with the Lenten Season. This is a time of reflection, centred on conversion, in preparation for reception of the Sacraments at Easter. The Lenten readings lead the elect, with the whole community, along the journey of intense preparation during Lent.

At Easter, usually at the Easter Vigil, the period of preparation comes to an end with the joyful celebration of Easter and the reception of the Sacraments of Initiation by the candidates.

After Easter the RCIA envisages a final period of post-baptismal catechesis or “mystagogy” when the newly initiated experience being fully a part of the Christian community.

The initiation of catechumens is a process that takes place within the community of the faithful and an effective and visible RCIA programme is a sign of a healthy parish community. By joining the catechumens in reflecting on the place of Christ in their own lives and by renewing their own conversion, the faithful provide an example that will help the catechumens.

Many adults feel the call to enter a Christian life or live it more deeply at various different stages of their own life. The RCIA follows no strict timetable and is tailored to every individual, although, where possible, the Sacraments are celebrated at Easter. If you would like to begin to explore whether Christian Initiation or full entry into the Catholic Church is right for you please contact us by email on formation@ourladyofhope.org.uk 

Ongoing Faith Formation

For those who are already Catholic, the journey of faith is one that is ongoing in all the circumstances of their lives: in their home life, their work life and their parish life, each one living out in his or her own way the words of St John Henry Newman:

“God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission.”

The Parish, supported by the Department of Formation in the Diocese, is here to help us all to sustain that faith and grow in it through the Sacraments, the life of service to one another and opportunities for further learning. For information about different opportunities to deepen your understanding of the faith, which will be provided periodically, please check our parish website, newsletter and relevant sections of the Diocesan Website https://www.dioceseofsalford.org.uk/faith/formation/spiritual-formation/.

If you have suggestions or requests for future courses, prayer groups or other services that could help you and others grow in faith please contact us by email on formation@ourladyofhope.org.uk