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Do you love your parents, siblings, cousins, friends, neighbours, those who take care of you? How do these people experience your loving affection and commitment towards them? Perhaps you tell them that you love them, you give your help when needed, by a telephone call or message, or by sharing a meal together. We express our love through our attitudes and actions in concrete ways.

God the Father expressed His love for the world by sending His only Son Jesus among us – God’s love for us that heal us from our sins are both personal and social actions. Jesus who redeemed us from all sins entrusted his ministry of reconciliation to his Apostles. Today’s Apostles are the bishops and priests.

Thus, the Church continues to celebrate the sacrament of Reconciliation even nowadays as it is our way of acknowledging the real gift of God’s love and mercy and sustaining this great responsibility that Jesus gave each one of us. We confess our sins to a priest who is entrusted by their bishop to exercise this sacrament. During the celebration of the sacrament, the priest is acting in the name of Christ

Introducing the Sacrament of Reconciliation

Five Steps to Help Children Prepare Themselves

  1. Examination of Conscience (see further down)
  2. You must be truly sorry for your sins.
  3. Make up your mind to do your best not to sin again
  4. Confess your sins to a priest
  5. Be willing to do the penance the priest gives you

Examination of Conscience for Children

Think about all you’ve done today.

  • Have I been good at school, at home, with my siblings, with my friends, during sports’, dancing, music lessons?
  • Did I obey the adults taking care of me?
  • Did I eat all the food that was prepared for me
  • Did I help those who asked me for help?

Steps to Remember When Celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation

  1. The priest greets you, and you make the Sign of the Cross.
  2. You will say: “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. This is my first confession.”
  3. The priest may read aloud from the Bible.
  4. You confess any sins.
  5. The priest gives you a penance. It may be a prayer or a good deed to do.
  6. You pray the Act of Contrition.
  7. You make the Sign of the Cross silently when the priest gives you absolution, and you answer “Amen.”
  8. When the priest says “Go in peace”, you thank him and leave.
  9. You do the penance the priest has given you.

More Resources related to Reconciliation

            Forgiveness is showing mercy and forgetting past wrongs. It is keeping no records of what has happened. There are many ways to show forgiveness.

            Andy always lent Seth money around lunchtime. His friend always forgot to repay him. Andy knew that Seth’s family didn’t have much money, so Andy forgave Seth for not paying back the money. Their friendship was worth a lot more than a few euros. Andy was forgiving.

            Yolanda ran into Sara by accident in the hallway. Sara dropped her art supplies all over the place. Sara could have yelled or even gotten in a fight about it. Yolanda helped Sara pick up her supplies, so Sara forgave her.

Father Forgives

During this prayer space one reflects on the weight pain and anger bare and the liberating power of forgiveness.

Fizzy Forgiveness

In this prayer space one reflects on forgiving those who hurt us, just like a tablet disappears in water so will our upset and hurt disappear with forgiveness.

Forgiveness For Greed

In this prayer space one is invited to reflect on the greedyness not only globally by mostly personally, and to ask for forgiveness for such greedy actions.

Being Sorry – Acetate

During this prayer space one thinks of the wrong doing done and takes time to ask for an apology.

Broken Deep Inside (Adults) (Clay)

This prayer space lets one to reflect on one’s own fragilities and to think about the pressures and tensions one gives in to, and to allows time to entrust the pain to God.

Broken Heart – Plaster

One is invited to think of those with a broken heart, reflect on what one can do to help, and asked to pray for them.

Brushed and Forgiven

In this prayer space one is given the opportunity to reflect on the unkind actions we made and invited to pray for forgiveness.

Against The Tide

This prayer space offers time to reflect on the issues that are holding one from doing what is right and to take some time to pray on staying firm against these issues.

Be Prepared

This prayer spaces allows one to reflect on good deeds that will recharge and prepare one for God.

Introducing the Sacrament of Reconciliation

Steps to help Teens Prepare Themselves

Start with a prayer to receive God’s Mercy:

Dear Holy Spirit, come into my heart and prepare my soul for this moment of grace.
Grant me the gift of self-knowledge, that I may better understand the sins which
keep me from You, and grant me courage, that I may confidently confess them to
Your representative. Mother Mary, please stand beside me and pray for me, that I
may receive this gift of mercy from your Son.

Prayerfully examine my conscience (relationship with God, relationship with the others)

Examination of Conscience

My Relationship with God
  1. Do I remember to pray each day?
  2. Do I attend Sunday Mass and pay attention? Have I fooled around in Church?
  3.  Do I use God’s name or Jesus’ name without respect or when I am angry?
My Relationship with Family, Friends, and Neighbours
  1. Do I obey my parents and my teachers?
  2. Do I do what they ask me to do?
  3. Do I say mean things to my mom or dad?
  4. Do I always say “Thank You” to people?
  5. Am I hard to get along with (during school, at Grandma’s, at home?)?
  6. Am I lazy around the house? Do I do my chores?
  7. Do I hurt others people’s feelings by calling them bad names? Do I make fun of others?
  8. Do I tell lies?
  9. Do I bully others?
  10. Do I start fights with my brothers and sisters at home?
  11. Do I blame other people for things I do?
  12. Do I get other people into trouble?
  13. Do I hit people when I get mad?
  14. Do I forgive people when they hurt me? Or do I hold a grudge?
  15. Do I cheat or play unfairly in games?
  16. Do I refuse to play with someone for no good reason?
  17. Am I was lazy about my schoolwork?
  18. Do I fail to do my homework?
  19. Do I cheat in school/during tests?
  20. Do I take anything that doesn’t belong to me? Do I return things that I borrow in good condition?
  21. Do I take care of my belongings and those of others?
  22. Do I refuse to eat food I didn’t like?
  23. Do I follow rules at home/school/other institutions I attend?

The priest welcomes me, and we pray the Sign of the Cross together. He invites me to trust in God who loves me. We may read a passage from the Bible together like “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” (John 21:17)

Confess the sins/wrong attitudes I carried out honestly and freely to the priest.

Listen attentively to the priest as he offers some advice and assigns a penance.

The priest asks me to tell God that I am sorry and I will do this by praying the Act of Contrition.

My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, I have sinned against You home I should love above all things. I firmly intend, with Your help, to do my penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin. Our Savior, Jesus Christ, suffered and died for us. In His name, my God, have mercy. Amen.

Receive the absolution from the priest. This means the priest will relate a prayer that ends by the sign of the cross, and through this prayer, the priest frees me from the responsibility of doing these wrong things.

The Absolution prayer is

God, the father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of His Son,
Has reconciled the world to Himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us
for the forgiveness of sins;
Through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace
and absolve you from your sins,
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The priest then says: “Go in peace,” and I answer “Amen”

Leave the confessional room and do the penance the priest gave me as soon as possible. The penance may be a prayer or good deed to do to make up for what I have done wrong and to show God that I am ready to change my way of acting.

More Resources related to Reconciliation

1. I stop before I act

2. I think about the Ten Commandments

3. I ask help from my parents, my teacher, a priest, or a deacon

4. I pray to the Holy Spirit to help me choose.

In the left column, there are the ten commandments (God’s Laws) while in the right one there are instructions on how one can follow these commandments (Laws). There are situations and times in our lives when we do not follow properly God’s laws. When we fail to follow God’s laws, we ask for God’s forgiveness through our participation in the sacrament of reconciliation.

I Learn God’s LawsHow I can follow God’s Laws
I am the Lord your God; you shall not have strange Gods before me.Love nothing more than God.
You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.Use God’s name with reverence.
Remember to keep holy the Lord’s Day.Keep Sunday a day of prayer and rest.
Honor your father and motherRespect those who care for you.
You shall not kill.Treat all human life with respect.
You shall not commit adulteryRespect married life.
You shall not steal.Keep only what belongs to you.
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.Tell the truth. Do not spread gossip.
You shall not desire your neighbour’s wife.Respect your neighbours and friends.
You shall not desire your neighbour’s goods.Be grateful when your needs are met.

Father Forgives

During this prayer space one reflects on the weight pain and anger bare and the liberating power of forgiveness.

Fizzy Forgiveness

In this prayer space one reflects on forgiving those who hurt us, just like a tablet disappears in water so will our upset and hurt disappear with forgiveness.

Forgiveness For Greed

In this prayer space one is invited to reflect on the greedyness not only globally by mostly personally, and to ask for forgiveness for such greedy actions.

Being Sorry – Acetate

During this prayer space one thinks of the wrong doing done and takes time to ask for an apology.

Broken Deep Inside (Adults) (Clay)

This prayer space lets one to reflect on one’s own fragilities and to think about the pressures and tensions one gives in to, and to allows time to entrust the pain to God.

Broken Heart – Plaster

One is invited to think of those with a broken heart, reflect on what one can do to help, and asked to pray for them.

Brushed and Forgiven

In this prayer space one is given the opportunity to reflect on the unkind actions we made and invited to pray for forgiveness.

Against The Tide

This prayer space offers time to reflect on the issues that are holding one from doing what is right and to take some time to pray on staying firm against these issues.

Be Prepared

This prayer spaces allows one to reflect on good deeds that will recharge and prepare one for God.

forgiven

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