Formation for the Sacrament of Reconciliation

 “To celebrate the sacrament of reconciliation is to be wrapped in a warm embrace.”

Karen McHale

Redemption is a life-long process marked by continual conversion as we more and more conform ourselves to Christ. For Catholics participation in the sacramental life of the Church is an essential part of this conversion process.


Reconciling is an important life-skill to master.

Receiving and extending forgiveness is a complex human interaction. Knowing how to imaginatively
and constructively deal with conflict and mend broken relationships is essential to our well-being.

Children begin learning right from wrong as toddlers. The older they become the more nuanced their
understanding of what is right and wrong becomes. This is why at Holy Family we do our catechesis on morality in stages, introducing concepts and ideas found in both Scripture and Tradition in age appropriate segments and provide children, teens and families with a variety of ways to experience God’s love and mercy.

Here at Holy Family, we celebrate Reconciliation for the first time, with children preparing to receive First Communion We focus on helping children see that as followers of Jesus, baptized Christians, they are called to do good and avoid evil. The primary values explored are

  • The need for forgiveness and the need to forgive and
  • Contrition (what it means to be truly sorry).

The spiritual practices emphasized are

  • The Penitential Rite at Mass
  • The Our Father
  • The celebration of First Reconciliation is done in the context of a prayer service, which includes the entire family.
First Reconciliation will be celebrated on February 28, 2024

In fourth grade, children focus first on the moral teachings we find in scripture, in both Old and New Testaments.

  1. The Ten Commandments
  2. The Beatitudes
  3. The Mercy Parables – a more in depth look at forgiveness

The exploration of these texts is done over time, encouraging the children to know what the text says and how to apply the texts in daily life.

In addition to the scriptural teachings children learn about teachings from the Tradition

  1. The definition of good and evil, which includes a simple theology of suffering
  2. The role of conscience in making good decisions and moral choices
  3. A simple theology of sin
  4. A child’s experience of moral injury and moral repair

The principal spiritual practices emphasized are

  • The celebration of Form 1 of the sacrament of Reconciliation and
  • Simple penitential practices (examination of conscience, The Act of Sorrow or Contrition and acts of penance).
Fourth Graders will celebrate Reconciliation on March 13, 2024 and March 16, 2024

Teen Faith provides those in Junior High and High School the opportunity to explore more deeply

  • The mystery of evil and the presence of suffering
  • The concept of moral injury
  • The principles of Catholic Social Teaching
  • The Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy
  • A more nuanced understanding of Forgiveness and Reconciliation
    • Forgiveness and reconciliation as ongoing works of mercy
    • Forgiveness and reconciliation require personal and systemic change
    • Forgiveness and reconciliation as the result of conscious, deliberate decisions; neither simply happens.
    • Forgiveness liberates; reconciliation restores
    • Forgiveness is an intrapersonal process; reconciliation is an interpersonal process
    • Forgiveness precedes reconciliation
    • Forgiveness is not something we only do for others; we do it so we can be freed from the past and turn toward the future. Reconciliation cannot be done by an individual, by its very nature it is a communal process.
    • Reconciliation is a more complicated, involved process that includes, but moves beyond, forgiveness

The principal spiritual practices emphasized are

  • The Celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation in its various forms
  • Communal Penitential or healing prayer services
  • Opportunities to pray one-one with a catechist or peer minister
  • The Daily Examen –
  • Journaling
  • Guided Meditation


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