As we mark this important date, we thank the Fathers and Brothers of Holy Redeemer Church, our teachers and the entire CCD community for their generosity, love and support that helped us through our First Holy Communion preparations until we were able to receive it today. In a very special way, we thank our beloved parents. (First Holy Communion Class 2020)
(Patumwan, Thailand) Since the founding of Sunday School as a part of Holy Redeemer Church’s ministry, we have seen enrollment growing through the years as more and more international schools opened in Bangkok, with numbers standing between 200- 300 students, ranging from Pre-Kindergarten to Senior High School. In 2014, we opened the SPRED Class (Special Religious Education for Children with Developmental Difference), although the First Holy Communion Class has always drawn the biggest enrollment.
In the last two years, the preparation of First Holy Communion has taken on a very different look due to the Covid pandemic. Indeed, the First Communion celebration in 2020 was delayed, like so many other events, with many churches closed to public Masses in a measure to limit the spread of the virus. Accordingly, the ceremony, involving 18 young boys and girls, was eventually held on Pentecost Sunday (31 May 2020) and was a more low-key affair compared to previous years. Adhering to the safety and health measures of wearing a mask, hand sanitizing, and social distancing, communicants and their families were seated in pews widely spaced throughout the church.
In January 2021, with the resurgence of Covid infection and strict public health guidelines, the re-opening of catechism classes after the Christmas break had to be temporarily suspended, as was the case with all other schools. That meant we had to adjust the preparation process for First Holy Communion of the Grade 3 class of about 36 children.
The challenge of a pandemic is not an option to discontinue parish religious education, especially the preparation for the Sacrament of the Eucharist. We must continue nourishing the gift of faith and the blossoming relationship of our children with Jesus Christ. Truly, it is an opportunity for the church for evangelization and catechesis using the technology of the modern world to shift to a zoom CCD.
Blessed with the leadership of our Pastor, Reverend John Wirach Amonpattana, CSsR, and in consultation with catechist parish leaders, we have shifted from in-person classes to at-home programming over zoom as we all learn to navigate the coronavirus pandemic. Importantly, there is a need to engage parents with information and changes as to how religious education is taking place. Accordingly, catechists communicate weekly material being covered and opportunities for faith discussion at home with parents.
The important task of preparing our children for what is a religious milestone and for a life-long appreciation of the sacrament of Eucharist continues. We are very grateful to God and to the many catechetical parish leaders and parents who are making it happen, ensuring through their generosity, love and support that our faith is handed on to the many children waiting to celebrate the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Communion for the first time. Certainly, a story of ongoing success.
Ruby Hoskin, Holy Redeemer Church Parishioner and CCD Volunteer