A Communal Celebration of Reconciliation

December 17, 2005 at 10:39 pm 9 comments

Recon1[1]

… forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us ….

Reconciliation1[1]
Last week, we celebrated Ryland’s First Reconciliation. Parents, children and families were gathered in the church. First we sang a gathering song to remind us of what we were celebrating. Then Father welcomed us and said a few words. One of the things he said that struck me was that Reconciliation has become a lost Sacrament. He also emphasized the positive role of this sacrament in reconciling personal conflict and healing our relationships. And that’s when I understood why there was a separate celebration for Reconciliation and it wasn’t celebrated together with the First Communion, which Ryland will receive in the Spring.

Father read the Parable of the Lost Sheep according to Luke 15: 1-7. Ryland and the other children have learned this story while preparing for this Sacrament.

sheep[1]
Father explained that we were celebrating a communal Reconciliation. He said, “You do not have to say, ‘Forgive me Father for I have sinned. It has been forever since I had my last confession.’ We know that. We won’t give you individual penance. Instead we will sing and pray as a group.”

We recited the Act of Contrition. The children have learned this by heart.

“O God, rich in mercy, I am sorry for all my sins; for what I have done and what I have failed to do. I will sincerely try to do better. Help me to walk by your light. Amen.”

After the Act of Contrition, Father and another priest stood by the altar. We came forward row by row as we do for communion. Parents brought their children to the priest, holding the child’s sheep. (The children made sheep out of cardboard, cotton balls and clothespins.) Parents waited a short distance away. Father leaned over to each child and asked, “What do you want to say ‘I’m sorry’ for to God?” The child then whispered one or two sins into Father’s ear. Father then gave his absolution and the child said, “Thank you, Father.”

Reconciliation2[1] The children returned to their parents and are handed their sheep to place on the banner by the altar. Then they went back to their places and took a few moments to thank God for the gift of forgiveness. Parents were also given the chance to have their confession. Hymns were sung while we had our turns.

The children went to the back of the church to get their candles. The catechist helped them light the candles and they brought them in procession to the altar to show that they walk in the light.

We then prayed the Lord’s Prayer.

At the end of the celebration, Father gave us his blessing and said, “Go in peace, your sins have been forgiven.”

Reconciliation3[1]And we all said, “Thanks be to God.”

We then continued the celebration of our joy in forgiveness with a feast at the school hall where parents dropped off their dainties (cup cakes, cookies, veggies and dip, cheese and crackers) which was shared by all. Father also joined us and chatted with the parents.

I think this Reconciliation had been a pleasant experience for the children and parents as well.

Related posts: The Lost Sacrament and The Lost Sheep and An Interesting Discussion of The Prodigal Son.

Entry filed under: Special Occasions. Tags: .

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9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Senor Enrique  |  December 18, 2005 at 5:32 am

    What a wonderful ritual. I really like how the parents are indeed involved in the children’s experience of it all.

    Reply
  • 2. Sam & Reeny Wison  |  December 18, 2005 at 8:51 am

    God Bless you!!

    Reply
  • 3. Hsin  |  December 21, 2005 at 12:17 am

    It’s a lovely way to introduce kids to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Most kids I know are terrified of it. It’s good when they make it into a beautiful ceremony.

    Reply
  • 4. Journey to Honeyville » What happens if we’re bad?  |  August 16, 2006 at 11:01 pm

    […] Here is another conversation I had with him a few months ago, around the time when he just had his First Reconciliation (Confession).  As usual, I was in the boys’ room helping him get ready for bed.  […]

    Reply
  • 5. bilbo  |  September 25, 2006 at 6:06 am

    i hate god mghahahahahah!!!!

    Reply
  • 6. :: leesy loo ::  |  May 12, 2007 at 5:03 am

    this is a good article. hmm. nah i havnt even read it. oops!

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    ok i just it. and yes its a good article

    Reply
  • 7. Kathleen Landry  |  August 27, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    we are changing rhe way we teach for first reconciliation and first communion this year. I (the catechist) will meet once a month with the children and their parents, so basically only 3 meetings before first reconciliation, and 4 more before first communion. I am a little nervous about this change, hoping it will prove to be a blessing. Thank you for your article. It is encouraging to me!

    Reply
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