Penance and Reconciliation – Reconciled to Right Relationship, Called to Heal and Restore (USCCB)
The new life in Christ that begins in Baptism may be weakened or lost through sin. Sin ruptures not only our relationship with God but also with our brothers and sisters. By the nourishing light of the Holy Spirit, we are able to prepare for the Sacrament of Penance by examining our consciences to identify those ways in which we are not in right relationship with God and with others. This examination also challenges us to recognize our own participation in the “structures of sin” that degrade others’ lives and dignity. Through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, God offers mercy and forgiveness. In response to this gift, we are called to become vehicles of Christ’s love, making amends and restoring justice and the bonds that have been broken. Healed and forgiven, we are sent to work for peace, justice, and love in our communities and world.
- Sin damages our relationship with God and neighbor
- Sin is never an individual affair
- Sin becomes manifest in unjust structures
- We are called to examine our consciences and admit our failings.
- We receive God’s forgiveness and mercy
- We work to repair the harm we have done
- The whole Church community plays a role in reconciliation
- We are called to be forgivers and peacemakers
May the Passion of
Our Lord Jesus Christ,
the intercession of
the Blessed Virgin Mary
and of all the saints,
whatever good you do
and suffering you endure,
heal your sins,
help you grow in holiness,
and reward you with eternal life.
Go in peace.
~Rite of Penance, no. 93
The practice of the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Penance) introduces our children to a life-long process of self-reflection and reconciliation in an age-appropriate manner. We want to help your children to develop spiritual maturity. We want them to examine their hearts, attitudes, words, and actions and take responsibility before God. In the earlier years under “Form A”, Father Jim reads to the children from the Word of God and then leads them through an age-appropriate examination of conscience. Individually, they approach for confession of sin and absolution. In 4th grade under “Form B”, students receive the fullness of the catechesis of Reconciliation and learn “the art of examining oneself.” This Reconciliation Celebration is celebrated as 4th graders complete this process entirely on their own, in an adult manner. Students continue to receive the sacrament in this manner, “Form B,” through the eighth grade.
Through the celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, students learn that God gives them the power to change their lives and form themselves in the image of Jesus. At Saint Thomas, we see God’s power working in each of your children, moving them to become “great of soul.”
Preparation for this sacrament consists of classroom instruction, parent meeting with children from Saint Thomas the Apostle School and Religious Education programs, and all day retreat with the children.
Check out the Saint Thomas Reconciliation Guidelines for more information.
Responsibilities to God:
Have I prayed every day?
Have I prayed my morning prayers and night prayers?
Have I prayed with my parents and family?
Have I been moody and rebellious about praying and going to church on Sunday?
Have I asked the Holy Spirit to help me whenever I have been tempted to sin?
Have I asked the Holy Spirit to help me do what is right?
Responsibilities to others:
Have I been obedient and respectful to my parents?
Have I lied or been deceitful to them or to others?
Have I been arrogant, stubborn or rebellious?
Have I talked back to parents, teachers or other adults?
Have I pouted and been moody?
Have I been selfish toward my parents, brothers, and sisters,
teachers, or my friends and schoolmates?
Have I gotten angry at them? Have I hit anyone?
Have I held grudges or not forgiven others?
Have I treated other children with respect or have I made fun of them and called them names?
Have I used bad language?
Have I stolen anything? Have I returned it?
Have I performed my responsibilities, such as homework and household chores?
Have I been helpful and affectionate toward my family?
Have I been kind and generous with my friends?