For information on First Reconciliation, please see the information on First Communion. Children are required to attend Preparatory Classes (attendance is mandatory).
"To those who have been far away from the Sacrament of Reconciliation and forgiving love, I make this appeal: come back to this source of grace, do not be afraid! Christ himself is waiting for you. He will heal you, and you will be at peace with God"
- Pope John Paul II
In order to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation worthily, the penitent (the sinner) must be sorry for his or her sins. Sorrow for sins is called contrition. Imperfect contrition is sorrow for sins motivated by fear of the fires of hell or love of God. Contrition, perfect or imperfect, must include a firm purpose of amendment, that is, a solid resolution to avoid sin committed as well as the persons, places and things that prompted you to commit the sin in the first place. Without this repentance, contrition is insincere and your confession is pointless.
When you come to Church to confess sins, you should first examine your conscience. Review your life to see how you offended the good God since your last confession. The Church teaches that all mortal sins committed after Baptism must be confessed to a priest in order to be forgiven. This "precept" or law is of Divine Institution. Simply stated, this means the confession of grave sins to a priest is part of God's plan and therefore is supported and carried out in the life of the Church. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (#1455) underscores the therapeutic value of confession for all believers.
Mortal sin is a direct, conscious and free violation of one or another of the Ten Commandments in a serious matter. Mortal sin, also known as grave or deadly sin destroys the life of grace in your soul. God's grace begins to draw the sinner back to him through sorrow for sin. He is brought back to life when he confesses sins to a priest and receives absolution (forgiveness). The Church recommends that Catholics confess their venial sins which are violations of God's law that do not sever the relationship with him or destroy the life of grace in the soul.
If you make good use and frequent use of this sacrament, you will have peace of heart, purity of conscience and a deep union with Christ in his love for his Father and for all men and women. The grace of the sacrament will cause you to become like Jesus, our Lord, in all you say and do! It will make you a stronger and more committed member of his Church.
The above are exerts from Fr. Frederick L Miller's "A Primer for Confession"
The Ten Commandments
I. I am the Lord your God. You shall not have strange gods before me.
II. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
III. Remember to keep holy the Lord's Day.
IV. Honour your father and your mother.
V. You shall not kill
VI. You shall not commit adultery.
VII. You shall not steal.
VIII. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbour.
IX. You shall not desire your neighbour's wife.
X. You shall not desire your neighbour's goods