GROWING IN FAITH TOGETHER
GROWING IN FAITH TOGETHER
Welcome to GIFT (Growing in Faith Together)
GIFT is offered to all our primary and secondary aged families across Catholic Exeter. Catholic Exeter consists of the parishes of Sacred Heart and Blessed Sacrament. Together we have significantly changed the way in which we support families both with their ongoing faith journey and with sacramental preparation.
Parents are instrumental
The Church has always maintained that catechesis, or passing on faith, is the primary responsibility of parents. As your parish family, we are here to work with, support and encourage you in this long-term process. We do this by gathering all families together to celebrate, learn and worship: we introduce you to other faith families, provide you with quality resources that will help you and your children grow in faith and answer any questions you may have.
GIFT: an ongoing faith journey
GIFT is currently for all families with children aged 5-16. It is not a programme and therefore has no beginning and end date; this reflects our ongoing faith journey. Through GIFT, we have put in place regular opportunities for families to grow together in faith. Engaging with these opportunities, deepening your own faith and supporting your children to grow in their faith is fundamental to every family’s faith journey and to the life of the Church.
When does GIFT meet?
Saturday Family Sessions (monthly)
We hold monthly Saturday family sessions for parents and children at St Nicholas Catholic Primary School from 9:45-12:15 (Ringswell Avenue, EX1 3EG).
What do we do at GIFT?
We begin by celebrating Mass and enjoying refreshments before receiving family friendly faith teaching and completing family faith activities. We explore a different topic each month.
GIFT Youth welcomes young people of secondary school aged to attend our GIFT Saturday morning sessions. After Mass, the GIFT Youth group meet separately. We hope that this will be an opportunity for the young people of our parish to socialise and get to know each other in person; ask questions, engage with and grow in faith together; and support each other as they learn what it means to be a young Catholic in today’s world.
GIFT Youth Parents
We encourage GIFT Youth parents to join our GIFT families for the morning to celebrate Mass, get to know each other over refreshments and to consider how you can support your family’s faith journey. When our younger GIFT families are completing their family activities together, we will take this opportunity to meet with GIFT Youth parents together for a focussed discussion.
GIFT Youth Social Evenings
GIFT Youth Socials complement the monthly GIFT Youth catechesis sessions above. Because the two are equally co-dependent, we encourage and expect that our GIFT Youth will engage with and participate in both elements on a regular basis.
GIFT and GIFT Youth Family Session Dates 2024
No August session
GIFT: the gateway to the sacraments
Reconciliation and Holy Communion
Sacramental preparation grows out of a family’s participation in GIFT, Sunday Mass and the wider life of our parish family. We no longer base ‘readiness’ for receiving the sacrament of Holy Communion simply on a child reaching the age of 8 (academic Year 3). The parish priests and our team of trained catechists will support you in discerning when the time is right for you to prepare your children. We will support you at this time with separate parent sessions and parent friendly resources for you to use to prepare your children.
To this end, receiving the Sacrament of Holy Communion for the first time will take place individually at the Mass you normally attend; much like how baptisms often take place during a Sunday Mass. There will no longer be a single First Holy Communion date in each parish nor a start and end date to the process. Families continue to attend GIFT afterwards.
Some of our young people aged 14 years and over in GIFT Youth are preparing for the Sacrament of Confirmation. Recently they attended a weekend retreat at St Rita’s, Honiton and will be attending a preparation day in July.
GIFT Family registration
Families with Primary Aged Children
Please register your family for GIFT by clicking on this link: Primary Aged Children Registration
Families with Secondary Aged Children
Please register your young person using this link: Secondary Aged Children Registration
If you have children in both primary and secondary school, you need to register using both links. This is to ensure that safeguarding and consent is robust and up to date.
Voluntary Annual Contribution
We ask families to make an annual one off donation of £10 to contribute towards the running costs of GIFT.
Once you have registered using the link above, we will be in touch with you regarding the upcoming session. We look forward to welcoming you and your families to GIFT.
For information about GIFT download our leaflet:
Set aside 10 minutes at bedtime to snuggle up, watch a bible animation, quietly reflect on the Good News of Jesus and say a prayer. Cuddly toys are essential! Click on the attachments below to access individual Bedtime Chats.
The Good Shepherd
The Holy Spirit Comes
Walking on Water
Jesus Calms the Storm
Jesus Feeds the People
Two Sons and a Father
Jesus Heals a Man
The Parable of the Sower
The Good Samaritan
Jesus Was Like Us
Preparing for Jesus
Jesus is Baptised