Chapter One: In the Name of the Father

In this chapter we talk about names and how important they are in the Bible and in everyday life. We reflect on the importance of our name and of being chosen by God. We think about Baptism ‘in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’ and its significance. We reflect on the story of Jesus’ baptism and on our own baptism. When we go into church and dip our hand in holy water and bless ourselves, it is a reminder of our baptism. We are also introduced to the baptismal font and to the idea of the Old and New Testaments.

If possible, get in touch with your child’s godparents. Get your child to write to them and tell them about First Holy Communion and ask them to pray for them especially this year. You could also choose a friend or relative to act as a ‘prayer sponsor’ for your child. Find a bible and talk to your child about it. Maybe you can help them learn how to look up Bible passages (PDF) over the FHC course.

Some questions to ask/discuss to get started:

Q. What do most of us do when we enter the church?
A. The answer you are aiming for is that we dip our fingers into the Holy Water (obviously not during coronavirus!) and bless ourselves with the Sign of the Cross

Q. Why do we do this?
A. It is prayer, it shows our belief (shows we believe in Father, Son and Holy Spirit), a sign of respect (as we are entering a holy place, where Jesus is present)

Q. Is it something similar that what we do in Mass?
A. Yes. We make the Sign of the Cross at the beginning of Mass.

THEN OPEN-ENDED QUESTIONS:

What’s in a name? Why are our names important? Are our names important to God?
The aim of these is to establish that God has a relationship with each and every one of us. This relationship helps us to see that he is a loving Father.

For us, it’s important to have names, because we are members of a family. Where do we become a part of God’s family? And where in the church do we find it?
The aim here is to recall their Baptism and its significance. Pointing out to the Font helps them remember that they were chosen by God to be his children. The Eucharist/Mass, which they are preparing for, is now the next stage where they will encounter their loving Father.

What is my name? What makes me special?
Celebrate your child! Encourage them to identify what is unique about them and explain that their talents are gifts from a God who loves them and created them (gifts can include being a good artist or footballer, but also can include kindness and generosity).

Suggested Activities

  • Page 2 – read through the page, draw a picture of your church and make the sign of the cross.
  • Page 3 – talk about your church, when you go, who you see there, to create a feeling of belonging.
  • Page 4, 5 & 6 – Old Testament – explain the two parts of the Bible: Old Testament – before Jesus; and New Testament – with Jesus. Go through the stories together. Concentrate of the baptism of Our Lord. The name Jesus means Saviour. Talk about that a king is, what a judge is and what a parent is and link them to God.
  • Page 7 – talk about why we use holy water at baptism: a symbol of being washed clean. Talk about where they will find the holy water when they enter the church and why they make the sign of the cross: a sign of respect to God and of belonging to your church.
  • Page 8 – tell them about their baptism or a brother or sisters if they remember it. Mention what God to said them, which is the same as he said to Jesus “you are my beloved child. I am delighted with you”. Explain why they have water poured on their heads: to cleanse them.
  • Page 9 – This is about everyday life. Talk about how we have the power to live like Jesus using the word search to find the words about God. We can share in these characteristics of God, in the way we live of lives!
  • Page 10 – explain where the baptismal font is in the church. If you have their baptismal candle, show them this – light it and say a prayer together.

Summary

  • Practise making the Sign of the Cross with your child in a reverent manner.
  • Celebrate your child’s name! Tell them the story of how/why your chose their name or explain its meaning. Tell them something of your family name/surname.
  • Find the baptismal font in the church.
  • Get to know the Bible – introduce the children to our Holy Book and maybe you can learn to look up some of the passages from the chapter in “I Belong” in your family or child’s Bible. In particular, you can focus on the story of creation in Genesis chapters 1&2 (to emphasize the wonder of creation and the uniqueness of each of us as created children of God, as well as emphasise Genesis 2:19, where Adam is invited to name the animals) and the story of Jesus’ baptism in Matthew 3: 13-17 (to emphasize the way that God chooses Jesus, washes him clean and sees him as His beloved – just as he does for us: In baptism God chooses us, he washes us clean and he loves us!).
  • Learn the Our Father (p.8).
  • Say a prayer together to thank God for your child and their baptism and to thank God for his love.
  • Have your child do the online quiz (compulsory).

You can also:

  • Point out priestly vestments and colours when you are in church or watching on live-stream. Talk about the names of our priests and explain how they help us through the Mass