The Formation Process for the Preparation of the Reception of Penance and Reconciliation
Christ chose to be born and grow up in the bosom of the holy family of Joseph and Mary. The church is nothing, other than “the family of God.” From the beginning, the core of the Church was often constituted by those who had become believers “together with all [their] household.” When they were converted, they desired that ‘their whole household’ should also be saved. These families who became believers were islands of Christian life in an unbelieving world.
In our own time, in a world often alien and even hostile to faith, believing families are of primary importance as center of living radiant faith. For this reason the Second Vatican Council, using an ancient expression, calls the family the Ecclesia domestica (The Domestic Church). It is in the bosom of the family that parents are ‘by word and example…the first heralds of the faith with regard to their children. They should encourage them in the vocation which is proper to each child, fostering with special care any religious vocation.
It is here that the father of the family, the mother, children and all members of the family exercise the priesthood of the baptized in a privileged way ‘by the reception of the sacraments, prayer and thanksgiving, the witness of a holy life, and self-denial and active charity.’ Thus the home is the first school of Christian life and ‘a school for human enrichment.’ Here one learns endurance and the joy of work, fraternal love, generous – even repeated – forgiveness, and above all divine worship in prayer and the offering of one’s life.
Catechism of the Catholic Church #’s 1655, 1656, 1657)
In keeping with the teaching of the Church about the Domestic (Family) Church the formation process for the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation is FAMILY BASED. It sits on a tripod of formational experiences:
Gatherings of parents and/or guardians providing Adult Formation concerning the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation.
Household gatherings of the particular family with the candidate for the sacrament to share the content of the material experienced at the Adult Gathering.
Gatherings of all families preparing to celebrate the sacrament on Saturday mornings.
The formation process for the Reception of the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation consists of six sets of Gatherings:
1. We Belong
2. We Follow Jesus
3. We Listen to the Holy Spirit
4. We Are Sorry
5. We Are Forgiven
6. We Are Peacemakers
Pre-requisites for admittance into the Formation Process for the Reception of the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation
A baptismal certificate for the candidate from a Roman Catholic Church
At least two complete years of Religious Education either in a Parochial School or in a Religious Education Program
Present enrollment in a Religious Education Process either in a Parochial School or in a Religious Education Program
For those not parishioners of the linked parishes of Our Lady of Mercy or Our Lady of Sorrows, a letter of permission from the Pastor of the parish where you reside.
Normally our community celebrates the reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation for the First Time during the Season of Lent.