Lent Penitential 3
To celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation, as a
preparation for Easter
The Act of Sorrow written large
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
A Paschal candle (alight throughout the service) and several smaller
The theme of this service is 'light'.
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
Depending on the number of children, it might be best for the children
to return to class after the service and then to return to the hall for
Confessions/Blessings (for non-Catholics) a class at a time
This service can be adapted for Advent, by changing just a few words
HYMN: 'Here I am, Lord' by D. Schutte (Celebration Hymnal for
Everyone number 285)
PRIEST: Peace and joy to the friends of
Jesus, who gather here to ask forgiveness for their sins. Peace be with
ALL: And with your spirit.
PRIEST: Father, we come to you with
confidence. We know you understand
us and accept us. You do not love the bad things that we do, but we
know that you still love us - and that you will forgive us.
Heal us and make us strong, with your forgiveness, so that we will
leave here today feeling less selfish and more loving and forgiving.
PRIEST: In the first verse of the hymn we
have just sung, God is speaking to us. He says that he can hear us when
we cry out.
He knows when we are unhappy. Sinning makes people unhappy. They know
that they have let themselves down; they know that they have spoiled
their friendship with others and with God. To them, it feels like the
light has gone out in their lives.
PRIEST: Light is very important to us.
Sometimes we are in a room and the light bulb goes out. Immediately, we
stop what we are doing. We are confused by the sudden darkness. Then we
start to fumble around, searching for a torch or a new light bulb. We
move slowly, because we are afraid of bumping into things. We may feel
unsure or lost or frightened. When we manage to replace the light bulb,
we feel relieved. We can see where we are going again. We feel
confident, safe and cheerful.
Saying sorry and being forgiven is a bit like that. When we sin, we
turn away from God's light, but his light is still there. God waits
patiently for us to turn back to him, to say sorry. Then he forgives
us. We are again bathed in his light. We feel happy and safe again.
We can see where we are going in life - and we move forward with
confidence. God's forgiveness makes us strong; it saves us; it makes
our darkness bright.
CHILD 1: Light is mentioned many times in
the Bible. Indeed, it is mentioned on the very first page. This tells
us about how God made the world.
On the first day of Creation, God said, "Let there be light!" - and
CHILD 2: In one of the Psalms, it says
this, "I am waiting in the dark, waiting for the Lord. Forgive me,
Lord, I have done wrong. Take away the darkness of my sins. You are
loving and forgiving. You are like the brightness of the sun, that
lights up the world each morning."
CHILD 3: Jesus himself mentioned light. He
even called himself "The Light of the World" and he said, "Whoever
follows me will have the light of life."
CHILD 4: Light was also important in the
time of Jesus. The people used candles instead of light bulbs of
course, so when Jesus spoke about light, he spoke about candles.
One day, Jesus said, "Do you light a candle and then cover it? Of
course you don't. You want it to light up the whole room, so that
everyone can see.
If you are good, you will be like a candle that shines brightly for
everyone to see - and they will see that God is good."
PRIEST: Look at the Paschal candle....
God says, "I love you"....
Let his love burn gently.... and warmly.... and steadily.... within
you.... like the candle-flame....
Turn back to God....
Let his light shine on you....
Let it shine so brightly that other people see it....
CHILD 5: We think of candles, sometimes
difficult to light and easily blown out.
We are like those candles - sometimes slow to spread cheer and goodwill
- sometimes quick to give up.
We ask God to help us to shine, to make this a happy time for everyone.
Lord in your mercy ... hear our prayer.
CHILD 6: Now we will think about the wrong
things we have done - and we will ask God to forgive us, so that we can
shine brightly with his light.
PRIEST: 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."
(A candle will be lit from the Paschal candle during each response.
The room will gradually become lighter.)
The response is "We are sorry."
If we have said no to God... Response ...
If we have used God's name as a swear-word... Response ...
If we have been careless about praying... Response ...
If we have been awkward with our parents... Response ...
If we have damaged something on purpose... Response ...
If we have stolen something... Response ...
If we have told lies... Response ...
If we have used bad language... Response ...
If we have made someone cry... Response ...
If we have hit someone in anger... Response ...
If we have laughed at people or called them names... Response ...
If we have been bad losers... Response ...
If we have not let people join in our games... Response ...
If we have made people work harder because we have been lazy...
If we have not listened... Response ...
If we have made other people do wrong things... Response ...
If we have been jealous... Response ...
Together, let us now say sorry, with the Act of Sorrow.
ALL: 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.
PRIEST: May the blessing of almighty God,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit be upon you, now and forever. Amen.
HYMN: 'Lord the light of your Love' by G.
Kendrick (Celebration Hymnal for Everyone number 388)