Catholic primary schools in the Archdiocese of Dublin will continue to prepare children for communion and confirmation under a policy aimed at placing a greater emphasis in religious preparation on families and the local parish.
The archdiocese – which includes parts of Dublin, Wicklow and Kildare, Carlow, Laos and Wexford – announced in 2019 that parishes would assume primary responsibility for the preparation of children for the sacraments. This follows a survey conducted a year earlier that indicated parents, parishioners and schools would like to change.
Many parishes have since been registering children for the sacraments, arranging online meetings to connect with families, and organizing small group gatherings.
Under a “Sacrament Initiation Policy” published last month, the archdiocese has formally adopted these approaches and will implement them in all its parishes.
The policy reaffirms that Catholic elementary schools will continue to play an important role in holy preparation and faith building by providing the Grow in Love program.
Under existing rules, schools are entitled to set aside up to 30 minutes of the school day for religious instruction or faith-building.
“Education for the sacraments in the school setting begins with junior infants and continues through the curriculum through the sixth grade,” the archdiocese’s policy states.
It adds that the specific material for the first celebration of the Sacraments of Confession and Communion is a two-year process beginning in the first grade, while the specific material for the celebration is the Sacrament of Confirmation is also a two-year process beginning in the fifth grade.
The policy states that the Catholic school “will continue to be attentive and supportive of parents and parishes on this faith journey” and that “teachers teach, testify and encourage a living relationship with Jesus Christ, helping young people through their Beliefs help to know about the community, their faith journey and the meaning of the sacraments”.
It states that teachers will continue to support their role in teaching and preparing children for the reception of the sacraments by primary diocesan counselors, while the school will “continue to support all parish and diocese initiatives that encourage children and families to believe.” enables us to grow”.
Where the parent has not opted for a Catholic school, it states that an alternative program of religious instruction may be organized in the parish that facilitates using a diocesan program approved by the parent.
The policy comes at a time of debate on the role of faith building at the primary level.
A draft curriculum at the primary level – due to come into force from 2026 – proposes to reduce scheduled time for trust-building or mentoring programs from two-and-a-half hours a week to two hours, and more “flexible time” for schools to focus on other areas of learning. allowing you to focus.
Meanwhile, some campaigners have called for the removal of faith building in state-funded schools.
“Schools should teach and churches should preach,” said Michael Nugent of Atheist Ireland. “They should treat everyone equally, regardless of their religious or non-religious beliefs.”