Yesterday, I had practice with some of the First Communicants. They practiced receiving the bread and wine at Mass.
Out of 25 kids in the room 6 could not make the Sign of the Cross. Only about 6 of them go to Mass on a regular basis (at least 2 times a month). So, I sent the following letter home (altered slightly in typos, tone, and to add more dates since the kids in question yesterday go on Tuesdays and will receive their First Eucharist on May 7) and I went over it with the parents in the hallway.
Some important information for you before First Holy Communion.
All of the children must attend Mass and get a bulletin signed by the presiding priest (or a concelebrating priest) for the weeks leading up to their First Holy Communion. For Monday and Wednesday Students that means the children must bring to CCD with them a bulletin signed by a priest of the parish where you attended Mass that day for April 16 (Easter Sunday), April 23, April 30, May 7 and May 14. Children who do not complete this assignment will not receive the Sacrament of the Eucharist on May 21.
On the reverse side, you will find the procedure for receiving communion. Please practice this with your child at home. You can use an animal cracker or a piece of popcorn or bread in place of a host. You can use any beverage in place of wine.
Thank you for you cooperation.
I have had some complaints, mostly about the tone of my talk and from people who actually take their kids to Mass on a regular basis who now have to "wait around after Mass to get a bulletin signed". I have apologized for insulting people (I suppose that since I didn't make some sort of comment like "I know this doesn't apply to all of you, but..." they were insulted), but I don't apologize for my actions. I do have to admit that I didn't pray before I spoke. I always get in trouble if I don't pray before I talk.
20% of First Graders not knowing how to make the basic sign of our faith is wrong. Those kids, arguably, should not receive the sacrament anyway. The fact that 75% of them (give or take) do not go to Mass regularly is wrong. And they can complain to the pope for all I care. He would back me up, I'm sure.
When I die, I've got to answer for myself, my husband, my kids, and these CCD kids. I have to do what I can to make sure they are worthy to receive the sacraments. I have to do what I can to make sure they know what they're being brought here to learn. I have to do what I can to make sure they get the chance to develop a relationship with Christ. I also realize I am a supplement to their parents. I can only do so much. So I pray for them. I pray for their parents. I ask you to pray for them too.