Time For Assembly

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Below is a ready-made script for a penitential service for Lent.

Feel free to adapt it to suit your school and age group.

You can also submit your own scripts via

This site was formerly known as
'School Assemblies for Busy Teachers'.

Assembly Title
Lent Penitential 1

Submitted by
S. Daly

Age Group

To celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation, as a preparation for Easter

Faith Group

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

Time of Year

Other Details
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 285)

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 wrong.""
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 number 209)

Followed by an opportunity for Confession - or a blessing for non-Catholics.

S. Daly 2000

Last updated 25-7-12.