Suggestions for Involving the Whole Parish

From the Program Director’s guide of Reconciliation: Pardon and Peace

Use the following ideas to involve parishioners in the preparation of children for the Sacrament of Reconciliation:

  • Organize a “getting to know you” reception after Mass for the children and their families who will celebrate the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist during the year. Schedule this to take place a week or so before the first session of sacrament preparation.
  • Each week throughout the period of preparation for the sacrament, include the names of various children in the program in the General Intercessions at all parish Masses.
  • Invite parishioners to attend the Family Experience Days that are part of the parish preparation for First Reconciliation. In addition to participating, they might help with hospitality, arts and crafts activities, and in other useful ways.
  • Display the photos of the First Reconciliation children in the vestibule of the church. They should remain in place throughout the time of preparation.
  • Schedule some adult faith formation sessions focusing on the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
  • Prepare a “prayer tree” and place it near the photos of the First Reconciliation students. Hang colorful slips of paper on the tree, each containing one of the children’s names. Invite parishioners to take home the slips as a reminder to pray for that particular child during the time of their preparation for the sacrament.
  • Invite the children and their families to speak at a Mass following their First Reconciliation, describing to the parish what the experience means to them as they “reflect and remember.”
  • On a Sunday a few months after the sacrament, organize a reunion of First Reconciliation and First Eucharist children and their families.