Reconciliation is one of the seven sacraments (signs of the presence of Jesus in our world) of the Catholic Church. This sacrament is also called Confession and Penance. We use the term Reconciliation to emphasize the positive and joyful aspects of "going to Confession". We celebrate the forgiveness which reunites the repentant sinner with God, the church and the community.
Parents should be involved in determining their child's readiness to celebrate the sacrament of Reconciliation for the first time. Children should not be forced to "go to Confession". For First Reconciliation we have a communal rite with individual Confession and Absolution. It is then the parent's responsibility to bring their children to the Sacrament of Reconciliation regularly.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation should normally be celebrated prior to the reception of First Eucharist. Instruction for this sacrament must precede First Eucharist and be kept separate from it. This is done to teach children the specific identity of this sacrament and to help them feel comfortable with it before receiving First Eucharist.
Children may be registered for either or both of the Sacrament preparation programs. While the 2nd grade level is the minimum accepted, some families may choose to prepare for these Sacraments at a later time. Children who have received First Eucharist but not First Reconciliation, only need to attend the Reconciliation component of the process.