What does it mean?
The Sacrament of Reconciliation is one of the two Sacraments of Healing. The other is The Annointing of the Sick, previously known as the Sacrament of Extreme Unction.
The Celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation brings us back into proper relationship with God, others, and ourselves. Other names for the Sacrament are Confession and Penance. These words are also part of the process of Reconciliation. Original Sin gave us the tendency to sin.
Reconciliation gives an opportunity to return to a state of grace with God. We ask God for help so we can examine our conscience to see where we are missing the mark in living a good life. We are truly sorry for our wrongs and become willing to admit them to the Priest who is our intermediary before God (confession). The Priest gives us a penance. This can be an action such as saying some prayers or some other appropriate measure to make up for our wrongs. The priest prays the Prayer of Absolution to absolve all our sins.
The image of the hand with five fingers helps us to remember the five parts of this Sacrament.
1. We examine our Conscience,
2. We are truly sorry for our wrongs.
3. We admit our wrongs to a priest, wrongs.
4. We do penance to make up for our wrongs.
5. We are absolved from our sins and brought into right relationship with God again.
About First Reconciliation
St. John’s Parish helps our youth prepare for First Eucharist by preparing for First Reconciliation prior to the receiving First Eucharist. This is a pastoral decision and may vary from diocese to diocese.
We want to be in the best possible state to receive Communion. Children are learning the difference between right and wrong by age seven, the age of reason. They are still fairly innocent and yet can understand right and wrong behaviors and thoughts which may lead them to or away from a loving relationship with God, others and themselves. We focus on the great love God has for them and how wonderful it is when a family is in loving relationship with each other. It is a chance to start over, to make our lives better and grow in love of God and acceptance of others.
The children celebrate First Reconciliation as a group with their families present in the church.