Sacrament of Reconciliation

Saturday 4:50 -  5:20 p.m.  Any other time by appointment


What is Baptism? 
Baptism is the first Sacrament of Initiation whereby a person is cleansed of all sin and joined to the family of God.  It is rightly called the entryway into the life of the Church and unites the recipient to our loving God.  Baptism is a Sacrament received only once, since it permanently unites the Christian to God and His family. 

How can I get my child baptized?
Baptisms are normally celebrated after the 9:00 AM Mass on Sundays, except during the Lenten Season.  All first-time expecting parents are asked to attend a one-time pre-baptismal preparation class. Call one of the parish priest (662-7361) to make arrangements for a Baptism


“ A marriage that last a lifetime, demands love, loyalty, forgiveness, and God’s grace!” author unknown.

We recognize how important it is for couples to set their wedding dates early enough to secure all the other reservation that are needed for such a special event. It is important for you to realize that sufficient time must be set aside for your spiritual preparation for this Sacrament. Diocesan guidelines for marriage preparation ideally are designed to take place over eight months to a year.  Please contact the parish office at 309-662-7361309-662-7361 to set an appointment to discuss the marriage preparation program with a priest.

Catholic Diocesan of Peoria Marriage Preparation Policy - CLICK HERE

In the event that there may be an impediment to the marriage, such as a prior marriage, or the desire of one the parties to enter the Catholic Church, additional time may be required. This is something that will be discussed with the priest preparing you for marriage.

You are cautioned against making firm commitments with the reception facilities, caterers, photographer, etc. until after your initial meeting with the priest.

Anointing of the Sick

What is Anointing of the Sick and Who can receive it?  The Sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick is a Sacrament for the living which grants a grace of spiritual healing and strength, sometimes accompanied by physical healing as well. Traditionally, this Sacrament was received when people were near death.  While still encouraged at that time as a preparation for the journey to Heaven, the Sacrament of Anointing may also be received by anyone who is in serious illness, those preparing for surgery, and those who suffer difficulties because of advanced age.


How does Anointing take place?Along with special prayers from the Rite of Anointing, the priest will lay his hands on your head, and then anoint your forehead and hands with oil.  The Rite concludes with a special prayer of blessing asking for God's strength and healing.


How do I arrange to receive the Sacrament?The priests are very happy to administer the Sacrament of Anointing after Masses or to make visits to the hospital/nursing home if needed.  Just simply let them or one of our staff members know you wish to receive the Sacrament.  In the case of emergency illness or accident, call the Parish Office  (309-662-7361309-662-7361) at St. Patrick Church of Merna. Outside of normal business hours you will be directed to the priest emergency phone line.

First Communion

The parish community of St. Mary in Downs is dedicated to developing and maintaining a religious education program that aids parents in the development of the Catholic faith of their children...a living, growing faith which will permeate daily life and lead to lives based on the scriptural teachings of Jesus Christ.

The goals of this portion of our religious education program are promoted through a continuous curriculum for preschool through high school. Our catechists and assistants are parents and other dedicated parishioners who volunteer their time and services. The children meet in a classroom setting and are taught through well-planned lessons, prayer, classroom activities and special programs and projects.

This is a strong family-based program set in Catholic doctrine and tradition. We recognize parents as the children's first and foremost teachers of the faith and therefore expect involvement of parents at all levels of their children's religious education.

Sacramental Preparation

Second grade students are prepared for the reception of the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist. First Holy Communion liturgies take place shortly after Easter.

Children in grades beyond Grade 2 who have not received the Sacraments of Baptism, Reconciliation and Eucharist, have the opportunity to be prepared for the reception of these sacraments upon the request of their parents. Each year the sacrament of Reconciliation is celebrated in a communal setting with students in grades three through high school.


2012-2013 Registration Forms

2012-2013 Calendar


Confirmation classes are held every year beginning in September and ending in April. In the fall they participate in the Sunday evening YM programs and in the spring they attend Wednesday evening classes until the Confirmation Liturgy, which will be announced at a later date. This program is open to any high school student who has not yet been confirmed. Students must be registered and attend YM classes beginning in his or her 8th grade year to participate in the Confirmation Preparation Program. An independent service project, an outline of a book and vocabulary, resume of your saint, and interview is required and expected to be completed by the end of April. Students must be registered YM members to participate in the Confirmation Preparation Liturgy Program. 

Frequently Asked Questions


How do I know if I have completed all my assignments?

·         Publically posted outside of the youth ministry office there will be a chart that will indicate with the student’s name which assignments have been completed and ones that are outstanding. It is the student’s responsibility to make sure he or she has all the assignments complete.  Assignments must be complete in order to participate in the Confirmation Liturgy.

What will count for service hours?

·         St. Mary’s Food Pantry, Midwest Food Bank, Clare House, St. Vincent de Paul clothing drives, Clare House, Safe Harbor, Habitat, Home Sweet Home, Nursing Homes, Bromenn/OSF, Catholic Charities, SPEC, Special Olympics, CCD, Bible Camp  Nursing Homes, Living Alternatives, Birthright

·         Log onto:

What are the interviews?

·         Each student will be required to complete an individual interview with the staff between March and April. The interview will focus on their service project, saint resume, knowledge of class materials, vocabulary, and some presentations from class. If the student is unable to attend the scheduled interview please call Kim and let her know. Sign-up sheets will be made available during the class nights come February.

What paperwork do I need to turn in?

·         Baptismal certificate and Candidate Confirmation sheet (contains baptismal information, parents' names, saint and sponsor's name), all homework assignments, and a school picture.

When will the practice/confirmation be?

·         Practice Date: TBA

·         Liturgy: TBA

What should I wear to the Confirmation Liturgy?


·         Dress like you are going to be interviewed. Guys: shirt, tie, pants, dress shoes; Girls: dresses, knee length skirt, Blouse/tops.


What is the schedule for the day of the Liturgy?


Will there be a class photo?


Yes, order forms will be available later in the spring.


What about involvement in the liturgy?


Student will be asked to be altar servers, lectors and gift bearers.


Where do I find good information about the lives of the saints?


·        There will be a tray at the Welcome Center for you to drop off your homework before you go to Mass


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St Mary Church in Downs, 108 East Washington St., Downs, IL 61736    phone: 309.378.4679
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