Reconciliation, the sacrament of healing, is a sacramental celebration in which, through God’s mercy and forgiveness, the sinner is reconciled with God and also with the Church, Christ’s Body, which is wounded by sin. (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1422, 1442-5, 1468)
The sacrament of First Reconciliation follows baptism and is initiated, usually, at the age of seven or eight years old. A child, whether that child is seven years old, eight years old, nine years old, or older, is only capable of age appropriate readiness for participation in the celebration of the sacrament of reconciliation. A seven-year-old can only understand God’s mercy and forgiveness as a seven-year-old. Furthermore, a child’s ability to comprehend such a concept as conscience temptation, intention, and sin – both mortal and venial sin – is also limited by age and moral development. As a child grows in knowledge and faith his or her understanding and appreciation of the sacraments will naturally deepen. It is then determined that the readiness of a child is dependent upon their understanding of the difference between a mistake and a sin.
Children, baptized as infants, have been watching, practicing, discerning, and living the Catholic faith for approximately seven years. They have a developed sense of imagination, which helps them to engage in liturgy with its stories, ceremonies, and ritual. Children are also required to participate in Parish School of Religion Classes which begin in Kindergarten. These children will be taught what it means to be a Catholic as well as begin to foster relationships with Catechist of the Parish, other children their age, and leaders of the community.
They watch their parents, relatives, and friends model their lives as Jesus thus discerning how to model their lives on the life of Jesus.
This is a tender time in the faith life of the baptized Catholic. His or her relationship with adults in the community will form or de-form his or her relationship with God. The influence of these people will shape the young person’s desire to be a witness in faith on a daily basis.
The primary goal of sacramental preparation is conversion. Leading people to sacraments is about taking hold of this unique opportunity to inform, form, and transform lives. In the sacramental preparation sessions we include parents and teachers to work together as catechist. It is therefore important that we include parents in the program to lead them on the spiritual journey with their children to more deeply seek the living God and continue the way of faith and conversion that began with their baptism.
** For more information regarding First Reconciliation, preparation, or Parish School of Religion classes you can contact