“The LORD God then took the man and settled him in the garden of Eden, to cultivate and care for it.”
“The LORD God gave the man this order: You are free to eat from any of the trees of the garden except the tree of knowledge of good and evil. From that tree you shall not eat; when you eat from it you shall die.”
Source: USCCB.org “Genesis,” chapter 2:15-17
For Parents to Teach to Their Children
CCC 2221 “The role of parents in education is of such importance that it is almost impossible to provide an adequate substitute. The right and the duty of parents to educate their children are primordial and inalienable.”
Hello Parents, In my new parish in Florida, this coming weekend starts the children’s preparations for First Reconciliation. Students will make their first Confession before Christmas, then focus on their upcoming First Holy Communion in the spring. I am eager to share the materials I have in person with my class and on-line for readers.
Thanks, Connie Goldin
Our Art Gallery
“Genesis,” chapter 2:15-17
“The Garden of Eden”
A Reading for Children–“Adam and Eve– The Fall”
No sooner had God created the world and all its beautiful life, then human beings had to misbehave. In fact, Adam and Eve were the first humans, and thus the first humans to sin. We call this sin the “original sin.”
Here is how the story goes:
Adam and Eve were happy in the Garden of Eden. It was Paradise! God was happy with them and they were happy being with God and each other. All of their needs were met–They had delicious fruits and vegetables to eat; there were colorful flowers and butterflies everywhere; they had pure, cool water to drink; and animals to keep them company. They were naked and without shame or embarrassment in the Garden. There was only one rule: “Do not eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil that is in the center of the garden.” This rule came from God, but do you think they listened? Well, perhaps for a while. Then the tricky serpent had to appear on the scene to tempt Eve. “You can eat the fruit from the tree. God just told you not to so you wouldn’t be as smart as he is.” Eve was afraid of dying if she ate it, but the snake reassured her, “Take a bite.” Then Adam saw what Eve had in her hand and she offered him a bite. So then they had both broken God’s rule. Suddenly, God called to them, “Why are you hiding from me?” Both Adam and Eve felt guilty and embarrassed about not having clothes on, so they hid behind a bush. God knew right away that they had eaten the forbidden fruit. They had to leave the Garden immediately. God told them he still loved them, but that they couldn’t be trusted to refrain from eating the fruit of the Tree of Life. As they left the Garden, God closed the gates. A cherubim stood guard with a flaming sword. God, and Adam and Eve, were all sad.
Conversation Questions: Who does the serpent represent? (Satan) Why does he want to tempt Eve to break one of God’s rules? (He is the enemy of God.) What does Eve really want? (To be like God.) Who does God send much later, to open the gates of Heaven? (Jesus Christ)
Celebrate with Music!
“Holy, Holy, Holy”
1 Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
Early in the morning our song shall rise to thee.
Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!
2 Holy, holy, holy! All the saints adore thee,
casting down their golden crowns around the glassy sea;
cherubim and seraphim falling down before thee,
who wert, and art, and evermore shalt be.
3 Holy, holy, holy! Though the darkness hide thee,
though the eye of sinful man thy glory may not see,
only thou art holy; there is none beside thee
perfect in pow’r, in love, and purity.
4 Holy, holy, holy! Lord God Almighty!
All thy works shall praise thy name in earth and sky and sea.
Holy, holy, holy! Merciful and mighty!
God in three Persons, blessed Trinity!
Source: Trinity Psalter Hymnal #23
Beginning to Prepare for First Reconciliation
A Liturgical Guide for Children Magnifikid! March 3, 2019 Vol.16. Part 4. Section 2
Excerpt from MagnifiKid! Pages 8-9 “This Week’s Spotlight”
“Words can be sinful”
“In one of the forms of the Penitential Act at the start of the Mass, we confess that we have sinned. We can sin in our thoughts, words, actions, or inactions. We are often careless with our thoughts and words, and we forget that they can offend God and deeply hurt others. We can sin with words through complaining, gossip, lies, bullying, criticism. foul language, blasphemy, breaking promises, and so on. Saint Paul reminds us, ‘Never let evil talk pass your lips: say only the good things people need to hear, things that really help them. Do nothing that will sadden the Holy Spirit…’ (See Ephesians 4:29-30).”
A Prayer of Repentance
We Learn to Confess Our Sins In Church–Penitential Act
At the beginning of the Mass, after the Procession, the priest says, “Brethren (brothers and sisters), let us acknowledge our sins,/ and so prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries.”
Our response is:
“I confess to almighty God
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that I have greatly sinned,
in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done,
and in what I have failed to do,
And, striking their breast, they say:
through my fault, through my fault,
through my most grievous fault;
Then they continue:
therefore I ask blessed Mary,
All the Angels and Saints,
and you, my brothers and sisters,
to pray for me to the Lord our God.”
The priest concludes,
“May almighty God have mercy
on us,/ forgive us our sins,/ and bring us
to everlasting life.”
A Missal for Children tells us on page 16:
“The I confess to almighty God is a very helpful prayer. Read it often to learn it by heart. It will help you to express your sorrow for your sins, or when you confess your sins to a priest in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.”
A Prayer for Before Confession
“Lord, give me the grace to make a good confession. Grant me enlightenment to know my sins, humility to confess them sincerely, and the resolve to do better. O Virgin Mary, come to my aid.”
Source: A Missal for Children Page 88
“An Act of Contrition” Prayer
Another prayer that can be read out loud or from memory is called, “An Act of Contrition.” “Contrition” means to feel sad about something we have done, and to feel the need to apologize. Since we were all born with a conscience, we know right from wrong. When we do something we know is wrong, it makes our hearts feel heavy. Sometimes we confide in someone, like Mom or Dad, and it makes us feel better. When we make a confession to a priest, the priest has the authority from Jesus, to forgive us and reconcile us to God (re-connect, make whole again) and to heal the broken relationship with God. The priest will give the person who is confessing, a “penance” which is a prayer or a small act to do, such as, apologize to a loved one. The penance is small enough that we can do it, but big enough that it has special meaning. After the penance, the priest will give you “absolution.” This means that you are forgiven and the sin is no longer with you.
You can take in a card in with you to First Confession and read from it, if this practice is permitted for First Reconciliation in your church:
You can also read or memorize the “Jesus Prayer” on the bottom of the card.
Practice The Actions Of Confession with a Family Member
“The Seal of Confession”
“The priest who hears your confession may never repeat what you say. The sins you mention are a sacred secret between you and God. They are protected by the ‘Seal of Confession.’ The priest can’t tell your friends or parents or anyone else. He can’t bring them up again to you in private. Besides, he doesn’t want to tell anyone. He is not there to punish you, but to heal you.”
Source: Magnifikid!, March 6, 2019, Vol. 16. Part 3. Section 3. Pages 4-5
“An Examination of Conscience”
The “Ten Commandments” are our guide to whether we have sinned, or not.
“When we choose not to love each other like Jesus wants us to, it’s called a sin. A sin is not a mistake or an accident. Mistakes and accidents are not done on purpose. A sin is something we choose, even though we know it’s wrong. Sin hurts our relationship with God and each other. It pulls us away from God’s Family.”
Source: Child’s Guide to Reconciliation Page 7
The Order of Confession
We Believe & Celebrate First Penance
First Penance by Sadlier Sacrament Program pages, 62-63, explains what happens when a child celebrates the Sacrament of Reconciliation face to face with a priest:
“The priest welcomes you, and you both make the sign of the cross.”
“You listen as the priest shares a Bible story about God’s forgiveness.”
“You confess your sins to the priest.”
“You and the priest talk about making right choices.”
“The priest gives a penance to you. You will do your penance after the celebration of the sacrament.”
“You pray an act of contrition. You tell God you are sorry for your sins and that you will try to not sin again.”
“You receive absolution. The priest stretches his right hand over your head and says the words of absolution.”
“In God’s name your sins are forgiven by the priest.”
“You and the priest praise and thank God for his love and forgiveness.”
“The priest tells you, ‘Go in peace.'”
We Learn Through Writing
Five Steps to A Good Confession–Text From CatholicIcing.com
Easy to do at home with or without a template. Click to print template following printer prompts at bottom of page. Or, provide a large piece of white construction paper and a pencil for the child to trace their hand. Markers, stickers, and a black sharpie are great for decorating easily. Above each finger the child can write in Sharpie: 1. “Admit your sins.” 2. “Be sorry.” 3. Don’t repeat them.” (The child who decorated this added the “it”)! 4. “Tell your sins to a priest.” 5. “Do the penance given to you.” Decorate the poster and hang it prominently for all to see.
Click to Print Confession Template
Art Project Materials and Methods
This art project is about the “Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil” from the story about Adam and Eve in the Bible. I used children’s liquid acrylics, a brush and some sponge painting tools, and large watercolor paper. I painted the basic first draft, let it dry, then came back to paint in more completely. I used the sponge on a brush with a small, precise edge for the lines on the orange/red and the purple. I used a tiny brush to cover all the paper along the outlines of the different colors–something I have never done before!
I am enjoying using acrylics. All of these materials are available at Michael’s or Amazon.com.
Suggested Homework Activities
Invite your child to practice reading “An Act of Contrition” out loud, to you daily. It will quickly be memorized.
Talk with your child about the meaning of “contrition” and “contrite.”
Please talk to your child about the “Baptismal Promises” made by friends and family at your child’s own Baptism.
Have your child write two “Baptismal Promises”, i.e. “I renounce Satan and his works.”; and, “I associate myself to Christ and believe…” Source: CatholicAnswers.org
Read with your child: “Zacchaeus the Tax Collector” Luke 19:1-10 Source: USCCB.org
When you next attend Mass:
Make sure your child blesses him or herself with holy water, and makes the Sign of the Cross.
Encourage your child to try the new skill of genuflecting before entering the row of seats.