Is my child ready for first Reconciliation?

Kudos to you dear parents and godparents for making this year of sacramental preparation so meaningful for your child.  Throughout the past weeks so many of you have shared with me the many rituals marking this time of grace. You are fulfilling the baptismal promises you made when your child was baptized. From the Rite of Baptism: “In asking to have your child baptized, you are accepting the responsibility of training them in the practice of the faith.”

How fitting that we return to SCORE on the Feast of the Baptism of Jesus. When we celebrate our children’s reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation on Saturday, January 25th, we begin at the Baptismal pool marking ourselves with the sign of the cross.  Please note, we have one final gathering on Wednesday, January 15th at 7:00 pm.  This is the meeting that you and your child attend.  The purpose of this meeting is to discern your child’s readiness to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

You, as the parent, can only make the decision of when your child is ready to receive the sacrament of Reconciliation. What do you look for when determining your child’s readiness to receive the sacrament? Below are a few questions for your reflection.

  • Does your child understand that God’s merciful love and forgiveness are freely given? Reflecting on this question, as adults, do you believe that God will always forgive you?
  • Does your child know the difference between a mistake and a sin?
  • Can your child ask for and give forgiveness without a lot of prompting from you?
  • Does your child express a desire to strengthen his/her relationship with God through the sacrament of Reconciliation? Can you  sense an anticipation of receiving first Reconciliation? This is a new experience for your child, so there will be some apprehension; and that’s expected. Unlike the Eucharist, where they have actively worshipped with the community, many of the children may never have observed the sacrament of  Reconciliation. A natural response to reception of the Sacrament is apprehension.

The experience of reconciliation between siblings, parents, neighbors, friends is total gift, God’s grace stirring within, giving us the grace to say, “I am sorry.” “I ask for your forgiveness.” I often ponder the times when I have hurt another by my actions or words. It’s God’s grace gently nudging me to make amends, to say “I am sorry.” Perhaps, this is an opportunity for each one of us to renew our experience of God’s grace at work through the sacrament of Reconciliation. We all are in need of healing. I pray that as we prepare our children for the gift of God’s healing, we too may experience the profound insight, an aha moment of God’s infinite love and mercy freely given and shared, calling us to wholeness.

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