Upon successful completion of the course, you will be required to attend a retreat or day of reflection before being included in the ceremony of reception of sacraments. This activity will be announced in advance and will take between three and four hours.
Partaking of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Penance (Confession) is not a mandatory Sacrament to any of us, for Holy Mother Church presumes that ALL her children do live in a state of grace (without sin). Thus, the Sacrament of Confession is made available to us, so that in our exercise of God’s gift of Free Will—we freely, voluntarily and without coercion partake of it, when in fact we are living in a state of “disgrace” or outside of God’s grace because we have committed and are living in grave sin.
Parenthetically, the Church DOES require that we partake of the Sacrament of Communion at least once a year during the Eastertide and that when we approach the most precious Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, we do so in a state of Grace–free of grave sin which also applies to our active participation as to our reception any Sacrament. Thus, if we are in grave sin, we need to go to Confession to be “clean as a whistle” when partaking of any of the Sacraments which the Lord Jesus entrusted to Holy Mother Church [John 20]—yet, it is your personal call… remember Free Will!
All are invited to be present at Mass. Mass attendance will facilitate a time of observing how one is to participate in Mass. Sunday Mass is especially beckoning your attendance at your home parish. The Mass is the most perfect of all prayers—for the Eucharistic Celebration allows us to deeply enter the mystical living mystery of God in our lives of faith.
A Ceremony of Reception of Sacraments will be announced in advance. Remember that these ceremonies are held in a church different that la Ermita de la Caridad because we are a National Shrine and we cannot celebrate sacraments of initiation. The church for the ceremony could be St. Mary Cathedral of Miami, St. Augustine Church, St. Michael the Archangel, St. Raymond Church, etc. Ceremonies are generally scheduled on weekends.
“Envy is the disgust for the good of others” [St. Augustine]. Service is Love! [Matthew 10:35-45].
Our faith is incomplete if we have no sense of serving others — love one another as I love you, for I did not come to be served, rather to serve even unto death for I freely give my life as a ransom for the many [cf. Jn 13:35; 14:9-13]. Therefore, it is necessary to serve the needs of the brother.
On Sundays, we recommend that you attend Mass at your local Church of jurisdiction, according with where you live for — in that way, you will begin to relate with the community of your brothers and sisters in the faith; you will learn the norms and traditions (customs) of our liturgy; you can thus present yourselves before your brothers and sisters as well as your parish priest—your spiritual guide, learning to better serve others in your immediate community of faith.
We recommend (do not demand or impose) as further ministerial service, the participation of helping to hand out food, to the many homeless or others in need in our community through the programs of food distribution of the —Daughters of Charity here at the Shrine or the Missionaries of Charity (Sisters of Saint Teresa of Calcuta) at their soup kitchen for homeless people in downtown Miami.
As you may surmise, how much or how little, you “invest” in this process of faith will strictly depend on each one of you; remember that “by their fruits they will be known! [cf. Mt. 7:16-20; cf. Lc. 6:43-45].
Please know that it is NOT our responsibility or commitment to prepare couples for the sacramental marriage path. Preparations for marriage are made in the Church where the Marriage will be celebrated or in the Parish to which each one belongs. Also know that we are not responsible if a church gives you a date for your sacramental marriage before you have completed the course. We are NOT a “normal” church / parish; therefore, we have no voice in the marriage requirements demanded in different churches. You should discuss these matters with the church in which you are going to marry or with your parish, as it is your responsibility and not ours.