The Catholic Archdiocese in Dublin has started a process of changing the way children prepare for their First Communion and other sacraments.
The changes will see the preparations move from a school setting to a parish setting outside school hours.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said the changes will not happen overnight but it cannot "be put on the long finger for ever".
It follows a consultation which he said was “to strengthen the bond between family, parish and schools in preparing children for sacraments”.
The Archbishop said he wants training for the changes, which will be implemented on a phased basis, to start immediately.
Priests and parishes got a letter from the Archbishop this week telling them that the Priests Council had given the new approach the go ahead, and "in time will see parishes assume responsibility for the preparation and celebration of all four sacraments”.
The move could mean schools spending less time on preparing for the sacraments as planned pilot programmes will enable the preparations to be done outside of school hours.
Father Iggy O'Donovan said the move makes sense.
He said: "That's not to say religion will not be taught in school as an academic subject, which is done in many, many countries.
"I'd be all for that, but I certainly have no problem whatsoever with the Church and the believing community taking responsibility for the preparation of their members for the sacrament and for a spiritual life and so forth. I think it makes great sense."