Sunday October 2, 2016 was a very significant day at the Ss. Peter and Paul, Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral in North Melbourne. Seventeen young children took a giant step forward in their lives. They made their First Holy Confession and Solemn Holy Communion. Making one’s first confession is an important step to maturity in life. These children recognized their part in general the wellbeing in our community and society. Symbolically it is recognition that each of us has an obligation before the world for our own actions. By going to confession we recognize that we have sinned and that we need God’s Grace to avoid further sin.

As happens each year in our North Melbourne Parish, preparation for this big day began five months ago in May. Each Sunday the children were brought to the Basilian Sisters Convent for the weekly preparations. In the week before the celebration, the children spend a couple of whole days with the sisters and the priests for the final preparation. The parents, family and the whole parish take this yearly event very seriously. About five or six hundred people attended the church service.

Sister Lukia and Sister Macrena have always carried the bulk of the education in the training of the children. They are assisted by others in the work. Meals and BBQ’s are part of it. Fr. Brian Kelty as Cathedral Administrator met a number of times with all the parents, and even had lessons with the children.

The priests and deacons of the parish led the processional march in the cathedral at the beginning of the Divine Liturgy.  Fr Ihor Holovko, from Perth, and Fr Michael Szyjan, from Sydney were guests. The cathedral choir along with the children themselves lead the congregation in singing. The event was broadcast around the world through the internet.

Bishop Peter spoke with the children during the Divine Liturgy. They gave very mature responses to his questions. The discussion was about John 3, 16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but have eternal life”. The short study of the bible passage showed how the five months preparation for the day was part of God’s plan and the teaching of the church. Going to Confession and receiving Holy Communion are indeed signs of belief in God.

The children thanked all who had helped them to prepare for this very happy day. They all especially thanked the Sisters for their work.

We all pray for the children, their families, and our parish. The celebrations on Sunday are an indication of how we can pass on our faith and traditions to our younger generation.