The parish Sacramental Programme in preparation for First Holy Communion is geared to children in Year 3 in Primary School (though older children who have missed the programme when they were in Year 3 are still welcome to join). Until a few years ago this had been combined with preparation for the Sacrament of Confirmation, but this is no longer the case and Confirmation is now being prepared separately at a slightly older age.

This First Communion programme, (which will also bring the children to the Sacrament of First Reconciliation), begins with meetings for parents, but the most important aspect is not special meetings, events or courses for the children - it is simply about growing in their sense of belonging to the church family. Most of the preparation will be covered in the context of Sunday Mass (or Saturday evening if this is easier). After all, when the children receive Holy Communion for the first time, they are, in effect, saying "Now I'm fully a part of this community, this Family of God!" What could mean more now, than simply growing accustomed to regular involvement in the Mass and really gaining that sense, with family and friends in prayer and worship, that they genuinely do belong?


It is now to be expected that the children attend Mass regularly, in church. Whilst we recognise that there may be very genuine reasons why some are unsafe doing this, (and at any one time there will always be some who are having to self-isolate), we must now request that online attendance be seen very much as the exception, not the rule. That vital sense of community cannot be felt in the virtual world. Thank you for your understanding.

If you have mislaid your child's attendance passport, please keep a record yourself until you are able to obtain a new copy from Mrs Darcy, the programme co-ordinator. She can be contacted at St Gilbert's School on 0161 789 5035. For the time being, we still ask that you sign these passports yourself (which we will ask to see at future meetings) but in time we may return to our more usual form of having them signed by Catechists at the end of Mass.

For those who did not get, or have mislaid the copy of the response sheet for Mass, a copy can be downloaded HEREDo, please, go through these responses  with your child, so that joining in with the Mass becomes more natural for them.

Meetings (for both children and parents) took place on Tuesday 15th and Wednesday 16th March in preparation for First Reconciliation, and setting out the timetable for the summer (including the dates of special classes for children who attend Non-Catholic schools). If you were unable to attend the meeting, the handout can be viewed and downloaded HERE, and the presentation at the meeting can be viewed HERE or in the window below:

As always, please check your emails (and Spam folders!) to be kept informed.

Children were formally "presented" to the parish, for welcome and for prayer support, at all Masses on the weekend of 19th/20th March.

First Holy Communion Dates:

  • Saturday 18th June, 6pm at Holy Cross
  • Sunday 19th June, 9.30am at St Mary's
  • Saturday 25th June, 6pm at Holy Cross
  • Sunday 26th June, 11.15am at Holy Cross
  • Saturday 2nd July, 6pm at Holy Cross
  • Sunday 3rd July, 9.30am at St Mary's

Thank you for submitting your preferences from these dates - allocations have been made in the fairest way possible but, we are sure you will appreciate, it is never possible to give eveyone their first choice because of space limitations. If you do not already know the Mass to which your child has been allocated, it should now be available from church after weekend Masses. When it comes to First Holy Communion day, we would ask you, please, to limit guests in church to 8 per family, as there will be very large numbers and we would not wish to destroy the prayerful atmosphere for your children, or cause health and safety concerns.

Meetings will be announced on the weekend of 21st/22nd May (to take place soon after these dates) for parents and children in preparation for reception of the Sacrament.

Thank you for your continued co-operation and support.

2020-21 PROGRAMME 

The Programme for Year 4+ children is now complete. If any children missed their First Communion day through illness, please speak to Fr Martin to make special arrangements. Certificates will be presented in due course. Do, please, continue to attend Mass regularly so that your child can grow ever deeper into the life of Jesus by sharing in Holy Communion again and again.


We have now begun the presentation of certificates, during Masses, in liaison with our three Primary Schools. Separate arrangements are being made for those not in our schools - please contact the parish office. And please keep engaged with your parish - First Communion is not the end, but a new beginning. We hope to see you all again and again! May God bless you all.


Please bear with us through this difficult time, and refer back to this page regularly (and to the Newsletter and Coronavirus pages), which we endeavour to keep up to date with the latest information.

Please continue to keep all the children and their families in your prayers.