The concept behind reconciliation is forgiveness, the rite to forgive those who have done wrong, and being forgiven for committing wrongful actions. The Sacrament of Reconciliation examines how to work towards the renewal and restoration of relationships. At Saint P, in order to assemble and cultivate student's knowledge on the Sacrament of Reconciliation, they will be required to get past egoism through exercises that help analyze and look back on their relationships with themselves, others, and God as it pertains to forgiveness and being forgiven to bring forth tranquility and affirmation. (Cavalletti, 1992, p. 40) To achieve these goals, a variety of learning activities (to be carried out in the classroom) along with an increased spotlight in school events and through religious life within the classroom, will be implemented.
It is the responsibility of the school and the family to educate a student in understanding Reconciliation. A supporter of both the school and the families will be the Parish, whose role is to conduct the Sacrament. The school, the parish, and the families, will all work together in helping your children achieve a better understanding and preparation for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. (Cavalletti, 1992, p. 34) After all, it is important to learn to forgive in order to grow.
1. The Classroom Religion Program
This program will focus on different aspects of the Catholic religion with strong emphasis on Reconciliation. Children, early on, need to understand concepts in a broad and inclusive manner so they can draw references from various sources. This program will beckon students to learn Catholicism through all their senses. Sessions will consist of art, dance, song and even Bible study taught through interactive games.
The sessions all begin with prayer and a chance for children and if available, their parents, to talk to God. It can be in the classroom or in the church. Because this program is geared towards years Kindergarten through 2nd grade, each grade level will have different curriculum within the program. The first will be Kindergarten.
Kindergarten students will get acquainted with symbols for the Sacrament of Reconciliation such as:
1) Keys- A single key or a pair of keys, normally in a crisscross position forming an "X." Keys are the most common symbol for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The origin of the symbol comes from Jesus' words to Peter, and consequently imparting his authority to the Church; establishing the Sacrament of Reconciliation, allowing the Church the authority to forgive trespasses and sins.
2) A Stole- The stole is the main symbol given to the ordained priesthood. Priests are meant to be seen as a representative of Christ, who authorizes sacramental forgiveness. A stole is a narrow, long strip of cloth typically worn over the shoulders. Part of traditional attire for priests hearing confessions is a purple stole symbolizing repentance and sorrow.
3) A Raised Hand- During the Rite of Reconciliation, after the repentent makes the Act of Contrition, the priests presents the Prayer of Absolution, the blessing that cleanses the person of their sins, in doing so, the priest extends his right hand over the repetant's head (Perrin, 1998, p. 46)
Among other symbols, utilizing these images to showcase the origins of the Sacrament of Reconciliation allows children in this age group to better comprehend the meaning behind Reconciliation and why it is used in Catholicism. Inclusion of Bible stories that involve instances of forgiveness and repentance and places where these stories could have occurred will not only teach students of this age group more about the Bible, but also geography and memoization that will better equip them for further learning as it related to Reconciliation,
First Graders will begin preparing for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. More Bible study through engaging stories, interactive games and art projects such as drawing a scene from the Bible depicting forgiveness will allow children at this age to further engage in learning the Sacrament of Reconciliation. To further discuss this section, here are a series of questions and objectives to be shared with students of this grade level:
Goal: Teach Child about the Sacrament of Reconciliation
1) Explanation of Reconciliation and how it is a Sacrament of healing from which a person's sins are forgiven and in turn achieve reconciliation with God and the Church.
2) Explanation of the origins of reconcialtion: Jesus granted the apostles and their successors (priests) the authority to absolve and absorb sins.
3) Impart the knowledge that God is a loving, merciful Father waiting for us in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
4) Instruct children in making a questioning of conscience and have them implement this technique at the end of the day as part of their afternoon prayer.
5) Memorization of their Act of Contrition which can be included in a Prayer booklet.
6) Reinforce understanding Reconciliation as a means of preparing their souls to receive Jesus in the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist.
7) Take children on a tour to the church too observe a confessional and let them know the role of the priest and their duty to not disclose of their sins.
The next phase is going over the Rite of Reconciliation
8) Instruct students to make an examination of conscience prior to confession.
9) Teach the students what to do as they enter a Confessional: kneel and perform the Sign of the Cross.
10) Have the students practice the traditional greeting: "Bless me Father for I have sinned. This is my first Confession."
11) Have students recite the Act of Contrition.
Examination of Conscience for Children
12) When I decide upon something, is that something God would want me to choose?
13) Do I pray everyday? Do I pay attention while in Mass?
14) Do I attempt to see God in others and the world around me?
15) Do I ignore or listen to my friends, family, and teachers?
16) Do I act out in anger over other people's actions?
17) Do I apologize when I have hurt someone and say "I forgive you" to the person who hurt me?
18) Do I show gratitude for what God has given me?
Understanding the role Reconciliation plays in Catholicism and practicing what takes place during the Sacrament of Reconciliation is important for children in the first grade to be not only more acquainted with the Sacrament of Reconciliation, but also show how it can be applied to their own lives. Storytelling as mentioned before is a great way to showcase past examples of Reconciliation. Examples of these stories are: The Prodigal son and his father (Luke 15: 11-32), Joseph and his brothers, (Genesis 37: 12-36), Saul and David. (1 Samuel 16:14-23), Jacob and Esau. (Genesis 25:19-34; 27:1-40), and Hosea and Gomer, (Hosea 3: 1-5).
The Sacrament of Reconciliation includes the First Reconciliation and First Eucharist. Year 2 or second grade, involves the formation of the relationship students will have with Christ. Students start the year with foundational teachings of the Church's doctrines. They will then study and learn about the mystery concerning the Blessed Trinity, the divinity and humanity of Christ, including the meaning these mysteries will have on their lives.
Most of the school year for this grade level will be spent preparing students to form a meaningful relationship with Christ. Prompt preparations for the Sacrament of Reconciliation include analysis and study of the Ten Commandments. Anaylsis will involve discussions to form the children's consciences over morals. Students are further disclosed to the Scripture accounts that show and explain Christ's forgiveness and benevolence.
More role play and story writing will be incorporated in this grade with the end result of the second grade year being the reception of First Holy Communion. Students will be taught more about prayer and the importance of prayer in everyday life. There are various forms of prayer. Incorporation of these prayer forms into the daily class prayer routines are essentialin allowing students to experience a stronger connection to Christ and themselves. Below are the different prayer forms:
Adoration: Adoration and praise helps students realize humans did not create the world, but that God did and that humans are not the rulers of all they survey, but rather, active participans.
Contrition: Contrition or asking for forgiveness expresses sorrow for our lack of care or concern.
Thanksgiving: Thanksgiving prayers aid students in expressing gratitude and enables them to recognize the gift of life and all that it encompasses. (Ryan, 2006, p. 199).
Petition: Petition or asking for divine intervention/help allows for greater awareness of the limitations of humans and our perpetual need.
Rituals in school are important aspects of religious education. It helps them learn how to repent, forgive, and reflect before they celebrate their first school liturgy. "Classroom prayer is a significant part of the day in the Catholic school and a number of people have particular ideas about young children and prayer" (Ryan, 2006, p. 200). To further strengthen student's connection with Christ, they will learn the importance of Mass. Understanding of Christ's true Presence in the…