Lent Penitential 1
To celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation, as a
preparation for Easter
Areas of the school where priests can speak to
individual children towards the end of the service
A tape of children's hymns to play while children are waiting in the
hall to speak to a priest
A sheet of Sorry Prayers (see Ideas section) for children to say while
waiting to see a priest
If several priests are present, the parts can be
shared amongst them
This would be possible in a school which is fed by a number of parishes
This service can be adapted for Advent, by changing just a few words
'Here I Am, Lord' by D. Schutte (Celebration Hymnal for Everyone number
Let us now make the Sign of the Cross, thoughtfully.
From my head to my heart, from my shoulder to my shoulder,
I belong to you, 0 God my Father.
At the moment, we are all on a journey. The journey is called Lent.
One of the steps we take on that journey is the step of saying sorry.
We say sorry to God, for the times we have said "no" to him - and we
try to say sorry to anyone we have upset. This is why we are here today.
Indeed, our whole lives are like journeys. Some journeys are long,
others short. Some journeys are easy, others difficult.
But we are all going to the same place - to be with God the Father.
We have a guide, to help us on that journey. That guide is Jesus. He
said, "I am the Way." "Follow me." This means, if we try to live like
Jesus, we will be doing what God wants.
In the Bible, we are told very clearly what God wants.
In the Old Testament, a wise man called Joel tells us, "God says this,
"Come back to me and be sorry. Turn back to me, for I am gentle. I am
slow to lose my temper and very quick to forgive you, if you have done
In the New Testament, Saint Paul says, "Be ready to forgive, as soon as
an argument begins, because God has forgiven you."
So we know that if we forgive people, God will forgive us when we are
sorry - and he forgives us straight away; he doesn't make us wait.
We know that God wants us to say sorry to him, but we sometimes find it
difficult. This is why we have the Sacrament of Reconciliation. In this
Sacrament, we meet Jesus, through the Priest - and Jesus makes us feel
strong and brave. We can then say sorry to God and others. We mend
broken friendships, then everyone feels happy.
Here is a story to help us understand this.
Sarah and Paul Brown were playing in the garden. Paul tripped and broke
Sarah's skipping rope. He said he was sorry and would try to fix it,
but Sarah was angry. She had used her pocket money to buy that rope.
She shouted at Paul, "You wait - I'm going to tell - and I'm never
going to play with you again."
Sarah ran indoors to tell her mother. Mrs. Brown was on the phone, so
Sarah went upstairs. She went into her parents' bedroom and began to
play with the things on her mother's dressing-table.
She picked up a china ornament which her mother had told her never to
touch. It was very beautiful. It was a tree covered in different fruits.
It felt cool and smooth.
Suddenly, it slipped through Sarah's fingers and fell to the floor.
Luckily, it bounced on the carpet, but one of the fruits broke off.
Sarah was very sorry. She didn't know what to do. After a while, she
decided to tell her mother. But then - she remembered that Paul had
tried to say sorry to her, and she hadn't let him.
Sarah went back down to the garden. She told Paul that she didn't mind
about the skipping rope - and that she was sorry for shouting at him.
Paul said it was all right - and he would fix the rope.
Then Sarah went back indoors. She told her mother about the ornament.
She said she was sorry and would try to replace it. Mrs. Brown said not
to worry. She had some special glue, which she could use to repair the
tree. Then Mrs. Brown said, "Thank you for telling me," and she gave
her daughter a hug.
The words "I'm sorry" are stronger than any glue. They can mend a
broken friendship. This is why we are going to say sorry now.
Everyone does things which they need to say sorry for.
Let's think about what we have done recently ... the good things and
the wrong things ...
Let's think about what kind of people we are ...
Think about the person next to you.
Do you know them?
You may think you do, but - do you know where they were born?
Do you know their middle name?
Do you know where they will be in ten years time?
There are lots of things you don't know about that person, but God
knows everything about the person next to you.
God knows everything about all of us. He knows our good points and our
bad points - and he still loves us.
God loves us, but he does not love the wrong things that we do.
We are going to think about some of those things now. The response is,
"We are sorry."
If we have been unkind to our friends...
If we have been angry with our parents...
If we have told lies...
If we have stolen something...
If we have caused trouble at school...
If we have been slow to forgive someone...
If we have been lazy...
If we have been careless about saying our prayers...
Together, let us say sorry for the times when we have spoiled our
friendship with God and with others.
0 my God, I thank you for loving me. I am sorry for all my sins,
for not loving others and not loving you. Help me to live like Jesus
and not sin again. Amen.
Now we will say the Lord's Prayer, which reminds us that God will
forgive us if we forgive others.
Our Father ...
May the blessing of almighty God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit be upon
you, now and forever. Amen.
'God Forgave My Sin', by C. Owens (Celebration Hymnal for Everyone
Followed by an opportunity for Confession - or a blessing for