The Catechism of the Catholic Church calls the sacraments, “the masterworks of God in the new and everlasting covenant” (1116). The sacraments confer upon us a special grace that assists us in becoming the people God created us to be. Unfortunately, too often the first celebration of the sacraments in childhood is approached as if it were a one-time developmental milestone, rather than the beginning of a lifelong celebration or a further step down the path of continuing conversion.
Both experience and research have shown us that the period of preparation for the Sacraments of Penance and Eucharist is a rare time when even families who are only marginally connected to the parish are willing to spend more time in formation. This can be an opportunity for evangelization, if catechists and catechetical leaders are open to the Holy Spirit and focus their catechesis not only on preparation for the initial reception of the sacraments but also on the ways in which the sacraments can change our lives.