The new normal caused by the COVID-19 pandemic did not deter the celebration of the Sacraments of First Holy Communion and Confirmation for some 63 candidates of the St Alphonsus parish.
Forty-three candidates received the Body of Christ at the 9 a.m. Mass on July 25.
Health protocols were observed because of COVID-19 and as a result, the sacrament was administered in July instead of June. The candidates did not receive the Blood of Christ and it was mandatory for them to wear masks.
Though face-to-face classes were suspended for a period of time, the cooperation of parents and catechists contributed to the successful preparations and celebration of Holy Communion.
A report from AEC Communications said that Fr Charles Martin, the celebrant, did a wonderful job of interacting with the candidates through questions about the sacrament, and their faith in general. He expressed satisfaction with their preparation for the sacrament, intelligence and insightful answers which enlightened the congregation.
The following Sunday (August 2), the Sacrament of Confirmation was conferred on 20 candidates by Bishop Gabriel Malzaire of Roseau.
The candidates were prepared over a two-year period. Such preparation included weekly attendance of classes and participation at Sunday Masses, retreats, talks, receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation and a special meeting with Bishop Malzaire.
Like the First Communicants, the classes of the Confirmation candidates were also interrupted for a few months.
Again, the parents and catechists were commended for their cooperation in ensuring that the requirements necessary for the preparation of the candidates were met. The use of social media was integral in reaching parents and candidates to inform them of lessons to be completed and to keep the lines of communication open between parents and catechists.
The usual presentation of the candidates to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation took place during the ceremony. As part of his homily, Bishop Malzaire highlighted the various ministries in which the candidates indicated they wanted to serve. He prayed that they would live up to those promises and would be encouraged and supported by the Church community.