One of the rites of passage for any young Catholic is making his or her first confession in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Priests are always so gentle in the confessional, and even more so for our first confession, but still we want our children to be prepared in how to go to confession, so they don’t go in with any unnecessary anxieties. That is why we talk about this and help prepare your children in our Catholic Faith Formation, as this is the next step towards your child’s first reception of Holy Communion later in the year. The parish offers families an opportunity for their children to go to first confessions usually following a Saturday morning Mass during the school year. Please pay attention to the CFF calendar and make sure that date is marked on your family’s calendar. In preparation, we also need to make sure our children are comfortable with three prayers: 1) the Act of Contrition, 2) the Our Father, and 3) the Hail Mary. If they know these prayers, then they can generally feel very proud of themselves once they have made their first confession. They will need to recite the Act of Contrition in the confessional, but our pastor may give them, as penance, one of the other prayers, so they need to know these obviously as well.
In preparing your son or daughter, you can talk about why you and your spouse go to confession, and the graces you have found in the sacrament. Our little ones generally have no significant personal sin generally to confess, but in starting as a young person, they begin their practice in the work of holiness, trusting the Church and to living in the mercy and grace of Christ through the sacraments. Regular confession for our children (and for adults) can keep us on the path of holiness and spiritual maturity, and assure that we don’t get stuck in vice and sin, so don’t be afraid to bring your whole family to confession together throughout the year.
Attached you’ll find two forms that are readily available at our parish. One is a brochure on going to confession, and the other is a little cheat sheet. Please use both in preparing your children, and helping them to learn the Act of Contrition. This Act of Contrition is the one we use in the confessional, and so it reinforces what your son or daughter will see inside the confessional as well. It is a good and holy thing to raise up children who know that they, like all of us, are sinners, but that the Lord loves them, wants to forgive them, and wants them to flourish in His amazing grace.