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Reconciliation Guide and Prayers 

God’s Gift: Reconciliation.

Much of the following material was adapted from the fine text from Loyola Press which prepares second graders to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation for the first time. It is entitled: God’s Gift: Reconciliation.


To order copies with expansive content for children, visit


Making Good Choices

In Baptism, we begin to live as followers of Jesus. We live as his disciples. As Jesus’ disciples, we want to make good choices. The Holy Spirit guides us in making good choices. He is our special helper.

Some choices are easy. I might choose whether to eat an apple or a banana for lunch. Other choices are not so easy. Sometimes I have to choose between what’s right and what’s wrong. This is called making a moral choice.

If I’m not sure a choice is a good one, this is what I do:

1. I stop before I act

2. I think about the Ten Commandments

3. I ask help from my parents, my teacher, a priests, or a deacon

4. I pray to the Holy Spirit to help me choose.


We are Tempted to Sin

Even when we try to make good choices, sometimes we are tempted. We are tempted to act in ways that hurt ourselves or other people. When we turn away from God’s laws, we sin. Sin hurts our friendship with God.

Sometimes turning away from God and others can be very serious. It is a mortal sin. A mortal sin is a serious choice to turn away from God’s laws. It cuts us off from God’s love and grace. We must confess mortal sins to a priest and receive absolution.

Sometimes we can turn away from God and others in a less serious way. Then we commit a venial sin. Every time we sin, we hurt our friendship with God and with others.

Jesus always loves us, even if we sin. Jesus looks into our hearts. He sees that we are good. If we do something wrong and we are sorry, Jesus forgives us. Jesus gives us another chance.

Something to think about: Mistakes and Accidents are Not Sin.


Jesus Forgives Our Sins

Jesus wants to forgive our sins. We come to Jesus for forgiveness in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. In this sacrament, we confess our sins to a priest. He forgives us in Jesus’ name. The grace we have lost is given back to us.

In the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Jesus comforts us. He strengthens us on our journey. We are reconciled with God, with the Church, and with the people we have hurt. Through this sacrament the Church celebrates Jesus’ gift of forgiveness.

Something to think about: Only Bishops and Priests can forgive sins in Jesus’ name.


Examination of conscience

Conscience: Our Inner Voice

Conscience is a voice within each of us. It helps us to know what God wants us to do. It helps us know the difference between right and wrong. It helps us know the ways we have sinned. The Holy Spirit helps us to listen to and follow our conscience.

Before we celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we prepare ourselves. We examine our conscience.

Here is a way to examine your conscience before going to confession:

Pray to the Holy Spirit for help.

Review the Ten Commandments and the teachings of the Church

Think about the times you did not act as a loving child of God.

Think about the sins you are going to confess.


The Ten CommandmentsGod’s Laws I Follow God’s Laws

1. I am the Lord your God; you shall not have strange Gods before me (Love nothing more than God).

2. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain (Use God’s name with reverence).

3. Remember to keep holy the Lord’s Day (Keep Sunday a day of prayer and rest).

4. Honor your father and mother (Respect those who care for you).

5. You shall not kill (Treat all human life with respect).

6. You shall not commit adultery (Respect married life).

7. You shall not steal (Keep only what belongs to you).

8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor (Tell the truth. Do not spread gossip).

9. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife (Respect your neighbors and friends).

10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods (Be grateful when your needs are met).


Examination of conscience

  • Did I say my prayers?

  • Did I use God's name (without respect or in anger?)

  • Did I misbehave, play or talk in church?

  • Did I disobey my parents, teachers or those in authority?

  • Did I talk back to them or was I disrespectful to them?

  • Did I get angry?

  • Did I call anyone names?

  • Did I make fun of others?

  • Did I steal anything? Explain what it was.

  • Did I purposely break something?

  • Did I hurt others people's feelings by calling them bad names?

  • Have I started fights with my brothers and sisters at home?

  • Have I blamed other people for things I do?

  • Did I get other people into trouble?

  • Do I hit people when I get mad?

  • Have I forgiven people? Or am I holding a grudge?

  • Have I cheated or been unfair in games?

  • Did I refuse to play with someone for no good reason?

  • Did I cheat in school?

  • How many times did I lie to my parents? My teachers? My friends?

  • Did I take anything that didn't belong to me?

After your examination of conscience, you are ready to go to confession.

Something to think about: The priest can never tell anyone what he has heard in confession. This is called the Seal of Confession.


1. Go up on the altar and sit with the priest.

2. After the priest greets you in the name of Christ, bless yourself by making the Sign of the Cross: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen..

Then say, “Bless me Father for I have sinned. This is my first confession. These are my sins.”(The next time you go to confession after tonight you will say “Bless me Father for I have sinned. It has been (state how long) since my last confession. These are my sins.)

3. Tell your sins simply and honestly to the priest.

Listen as he talks to you. He may ask you questions, just be honest.

4. Accept your penance.

This is when the priest will tell you what you need to do to make up for the wrongs things that you have done. Listen carefully, and repeat your penance back to the priest. If you’re not sure what was said, ask.

5. Say “The Act of Contrition”

My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong, and failing to do good. I have sinned against You, whom I should love above all things. I firmly intend, with Your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin. Our Savior Jesus Christ, suffered and died for us. In His name my God have mercy.  Amen

6. The priest will grant you Absolution.

This is when the priest will place his hand over your head and say a special prayer of Absolution.  You will make the Sign of the Cross when you hear the priest say; “I absolve you from your sins, In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

7. The priest will then say; “The Lord has freed you from your sins. Go in peace.”

8. Respond by saying; “Thanks be to God”

9. Penance is over! Say thank you and goodbye to the priest.

10. Go to a quiet spot in the front couple of benches in church and do your penance.


Act of Contrition:

My God, I am sorry for my sins with all of my heart.

In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good.

I have sinned against You,

Whom I should love above all things.

I firmly intend, with Your help,

to do penance,

to sin no more,

and to avoid whatever leads me to sin.

Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us.

In his name,

my God have mercy.


Sign of the Cross:In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.


The Lord’s Prayer/Our Father

Our Father, Who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name; Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.



The Hail Mary

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou amongst women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death.



Glory Be to the Father

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning is now, and ever shall be, world without end.



Words of Absolution Spoken by the Priest

God, the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins; through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.


Confession of Sin

I confess to almighty God And to you, my brothers and sisters, That I have greatly sinned In my thoughts and in my words, In what I have done and in what I have Failed to do, Through my fault, through my fault, Through my most grievous fault; Therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin, All the Angels and Saints, And you, my brothers and sisters, To pray for me to the Lord our God.