Time for First Confession Prep {Lent Book Series}

The Lent Book Series today features Grete Veliz.

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Here we are in the middle of Lent. Have you been to confession?

If you are in 2nd grade at my parish, you’re just getting ready to go to confession for the first time. This year, my eldest child, 8-year-old Maria, is preparing to receive the Sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Eucharist for the first time. While I feel pretty  confident about teaching her about the Sacraments, I was excited to have a new book to help: A Little Book about Confession for Children by Kendra Tierney.  She’s also the blogger behind Catholic All Year.

This well-crafted book is written especially for children (and their parents), and I really appreciate that Mrs. Tierney chooses to explain the different aspects of Confession in simple but not “dumbed-down” language. She knows that children can understand even complicated theological questions, like “How can I know whether a sin is mortal or venial?” especially with a parent by her side to talk it over.

The majority of the book is in question/answer format which my daughter and I read together. The questions were a great starting point for discussion. Since this is our oldest daughter preparing for confession, I haven’t had to teach anyone yet about the why and how of confession before. Mrs. Tierney’s book came at the perfect time for our family. The Catechism and Bible references included could also lead you to further discussion and understanding exactly what our Church says about confession.

Calling on the powerful intercession of the saints might be just what we need in order to prepare for confession. Confession for Children also highlights five saints who have a particular connection to the Sacrament. We can ask for the intercession of these holy men and women, from St. John Vianney, who spent eighteen hours a day in the confessional hearing the sins of penitents, to St. Mary Magdalene, who became a special friend to Jesus after repenting of her sinful ways.

One of the things I especially appreciated about the book is the Examination of Conscience questions. This carefully developed list of questions, based on the Ten Commandments, is listed for children to use in preparation for confession, and even as a daily practice. I especially appreciate the delicate wording regarding the more “grown-up” aspects in the Commandments.

As a side note: Our diocese (the Diocese of Peoria, Illinois) distributes a nice pamphlet that contains another great “Examination of Conscience for Children” that also handles these delicate questions with respect.

This book would make a great gift. The actual book is small, with thick glossy pages and colorful text. My daughter also wanted me to point out that she really liked the drawings. So, we’d like to give credit to illustrator Maria Ashton, as well.

Finally, I love Mrs. Tierney’s recommendation of celebrating the penitent’s first confession by taking her out for ice cream. This is to remind us of the sweetness of God’s mercy. I plan to carry out this recommendation. I just hope no one will notice if we have to suspend our Lenten sacrifices for an afternoon.

Veliz Fall 2013-005
photo by Laura McNeil of Maple Seeds Photography

Grete Veliz is wife to Mark, mom to three daughters, ages 8, 6, and 4 and two sons, ages 3 and 1. She keeps busy by homeschooling, reading, baking, sewing, knitting, reading blogs and hanging out with her husband (and the kids, too). She and her family are members of St. Mary’s Parish in Metamora.

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*Grete is a young mom I really admire since I see her at daily Mass at our parish pretty often for a mom of five young ones.  I recall so vividly how bringing my once-little kids to daily Mass was alternately despair-inducing (the wiggles {and sometimes the actual Wiggles}, the occasional loud noises, the every-so-often mean looks and even mean anonymous letters) and how alternately great (the kind words from the older parishioners, the overwhelming graces at times, seeing my kids at Mass now).   And I want to say, Grete, keep on keepin’ on: Don’t feel compelled to come every day, and yet don’t stay away.  It’s good for you and good for the kids, and good for the rest of us. Plus, my “old kids” loves to smile at your kids.

*Grete was gracious enough to do a Q&A with me  several years ago on two pregnancy books.  You can read that exchange here.

*Elsewhere on the Internet, Grete did a guest post on Bonnie Engstrom’s Advent series at A Knotted Life several years back.  Her contribution: “Advent in Our Home.”

One thought on “Time for First Confession Prep {Lent Book Series}”

  1. Nancy,
    Thank you for the kind words and encouragement about coming to daily mass. I know that when we make it to mass our day always goes better. I shouldn’t find that surprising- it’s grace! Thankfully, we have most always received encouragement from other daily mass goers, and maybe I just smile and then ignore grumbling faces. We love seeing you there, too!

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