Advice on Son's First Reconciliation


#1

My son will recieve his first reconciliation next week. Does anyone have any ideas on how to make this awesome sacrament more special to him? I am a convert, so I don’t have any traditions from my own family to pass to him. My husband’s family didn’t do anything special either. I know a big deal is made about first Communion, but what about this sacrament?
And, if anyone has any apologetics advice on what to tell my family about this special occasion for my son, I would appreciate it. (They are Christian, but feel quite strongly that people don’t have to confess sins to a priest).
Blessings,
Lori


#2

Hi, Lori!

I am actually teaching a First Reconciliation class over these few weeks, so I was attracted to your message.

I am also a convert, and when I asked about this, it turns out that they don’t really acknowledge First Confession with anything in particular. I suppose it is because it is such a deeply personal experience, they don’t really like to discuss it or share it around, and that actually makes sense to me.

Some families, individually, give little gifts like maybe a crucifix or something, but they don’t throw a party, or anything like that. (We aren’t even allowed to record the names of the kids who go, on the actual day, because it is supposed to be a private experience.)

As far as what to tell others, well, just say that having someone to tell your sins to gives you an opportunity to be accountable for them, and to seek advice on how to overcome your most besetting sins. This helps you to mature into the person that God created you to be, instead of being stuck in your bad habits. The fact that it’s a priest gives you at least a fighting chance that the advice will be sound, and the assurance that your problems will not be gossiped about throughout the neighborhood.


#3

Here is what I heard from a DRE friend.

The family studies the story of the Prodigal Son or of the Lost Sheep. After reconcilliation, mom and dad give the child a small picture of a sheep if the lost sheep parable was chosen or a new garmet and even a ring if the Prodigal son story was used.


#4

My grown daughters have said they thought the most impressive thing about their First Reconciliations was that their father and I both went to confession that day as well. They also got a small religious-genre gift – none of us remember what it was.


#5

Remember, the father in the prodigal son story had a feast to celebrate.

Family confession, then out for dinner :slight_smile:


#6

Food is assumed in our family. :thumbsup:


#7

first remember this is a private occasion, NO video recorders, no cameras in church, or the mean old DRE will have you escorted out by security. seriously folks, give the child some space, do not give him the second degree about his experience. let him have quiet time for his penance, and don’t make him leave church until he is ready. we give a crucifix to each child, but keep the whole thing in a subdued atmostphere. Under no circumstances should there be a group of relatives to accompany the child, just one parent is enough, and don’t hover.

the best way to prepare is to role play, using imaginary sins (be creative so no “real” sins get in there) taking turns being the priest and penitent so the child learns what the priest will say and do, so he can respond.

maybe a little something special like ice cream esp if the child was very nervous, but save the big family party for 1st communion. (I have more to say on that topic later).

the best gift you can give your child is to confess at the same time, and to make sure he has the opportunity for confession frequently, but NEVER push him to go.


#8

I am a cradle Catholic, and there was nothing special done for me after first confession. All of the kids in my class confessed that evening, we received a certificate showing that we had first confession, and then we went home. The gifts/party were for first Communion, which happened two weeks later.


#9

Thank you for this: if you don’t mind, I’m going to print this out with just a very few small edits, and hand it out to the kids to give to their parents on the last day of classes before they go for Confession. :slight_smile:


#10

since I am now going to be a published author, maybe you want to cut and paste this

practice reconciliation at home.
apologize to your child if you have been out of line, and expect your children to apologize likewise
when it’s over it’s over, forgive, and move on, with a plan to get better
don’t encourage tattling and comparisons
if the kids see you and your husband argue, let them also see you apologize, reconcile, and resolve differences
practice prayer and devotions at home, including and especially the rosary and divine mercy

also the suggestion from DRE above about family discussion of the gospel stories about reconciliation is a good one
Prodigal Son
good shepherd
unjust steward
Zaccheus
two sons doing father’s will


#11

Tell us all! I want to be standing in line at the store when the book comes out!!! :smiley:


#12

Here is the final letter, as edited by me:

Dear Parents;

Your child’s First Reconciliation is this coming Saturday. Although this is an important milestone in your child’s growth, it is different in many ways from other important milestones.

First, please remember this is a private occasion, so we will not permit any video recorders, cameras, or other recording devices in the church. Anyone seen with such equipment will be asked to remove it from the building - we will suggest that they lock it in the trunk of their vehicle outside. This is in order to respect your child’s privacy. Also, please do not question your child about this experience. Let the child have quiet time to complete the assigned penance, and don’t make him or her leave the church until ready. Under no circumstances should there be a group of relatives to accompany the child. Just one parent is enough in most cases, and please remain a respectful distance away from the Confessional.

The best way to prepare is to role play, using imaginary sins (be creative so no “real” sins get in there) taking turns being the priest and penitent so the child learns what the priest will say and do, so he can respond.

Suitable keepsakes to mark this occasion might include: a little toy sheep to remind the child of the story of the Lost Sheep; a ring or a prayer card of Rembrandt’s “The Prodigal” to remind the child of the story of the Prodigal Son, a crucifix for the child’s prayer space (if there isn’t already one there), or a little prayer book that includes various penitential prayers.

The best gift of all, though, that you can give your child on this special occasion is to confess at the same time, and to make sure he or she has the opportunity for confession frequently, but NEVER push him to go.

Thank you!

Sincerely,


#13

We gave them a “Parents’ Prayer” that contains most of these ideas, already. :slight_smile:

also the suggestion from DRE above about family discussion of the gospel stories about reconciliation is a good one
Prodigal Son
good shepherd
unjust steward
Zaccheus
two sons doing father’s will

Their take-home book contains all these things, and they are already discussing them - but thank you!! :slight_smile:


#14

Really nice.


#15

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.