Posts Tagged ‘mortal’

The focus of last night’s class was the Sacrament of Reconciliation. This was the first of three classes that will be largely devoted to Reconciliation/Penance/Confession. Last night, we discussed the “theory.” Next week, we will go through the specifics of confession. And finally, on March 13, Father John will be available to hear the class’s individual confessions. We really hope and encourage that we have a great turnout that night. (Parents – hint, hint!) We did emphasize that our preparation last night and next week should have them ready to celebrate the sacrament and it shouldn’t be a big deal.

We started out talking about the concept of forgiveness in general. I asked two students to help with a role-playing exercise. They were to come up with a make-believe story of Jacob doing something to anger Kaitlin. They decided that Jacob had torn up Kaitlin’s homework.

In the role-play Kaitlin confronted Jacob with it, Jacob denied it. Eventually, Jacob caved in and admitted that he had done the deed. I guided them through the process as Jacob expressed remorse; Kaitlin forgave him; and Jacob offered to try to make it right by going to the teacher and telling her what happened so Kaitlin wouldn’t get a bad grade. We used this exercise to introduce the idea that any act of forgiveness usually involves four distinct steps.

1.) Admission – The offender must own up to the offense.

2.) Sorrow or contrition – The offender must feel and express regret or sorrow.

3.) Forgiveness – The other party forgives the offender.

4.) Reparation or “pay back” – The offender does something to make up for the offense.

Then, using the text, we walked our way through the process of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, connecting each of those four steps to the key parts of the sacrament.

Admission = Confessing our sins

Sorrow = Act of Contrition

Forgiveness = Absolution

Reparation = Penance

We prayed the Act of Contrition together as a class. Other key points we discussed were:

— The difference between mortal and venial sins. Reconciliation forgives all venial sins, even those that the person may have forgotten, but mortal sins must be confessed. We described mortal sins as the kind of crimes you would go to prison for. We didn’t see any need to get more detailed at this age.

— That the priest is an intermediary for God

— Two types of the sacrament, an individual confession and the group Penance services

— The absolute bond of secrecy for anything discussed in Confession.

By the way, after our rather unrewarding experience last week, I took a little firmer posture in terms of classroom management. We have just a few children who are rather needy of attention and try to get it by being either disruptive or loudly outspoken. Normally, I am inclined to allow our class discussions to run free, but there are some students who take excessive advantage of that. Last night, I did not give them as much free rein and it worked. So, parents, if you hear something about that from your child, that’s what it was all about. If you have any question, please feel free to give me a call.

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As I am posting this, I notice the class number. Have we really been doing this for 21 weeks? My, how time flies when you are having fun.

We had a good class last night. It least it felt good to the teachers.

We finished up on the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Penance, Confession, etc.). We concentrated on the general concept and process of forgiveness in any situation, whether between friends or between a person and God.

We prayed the Act of Contrition as our opening prayer. We then broke the class up into pairs for a role playing exercise. We asked the students to get with their partner and come up with a back story. One of the two did something to the other, and the second person is angry about it. After they had a few minutes to come up with their story, we briefed the two groups separately about how they should act out the exercise.

  • At first the offender should deny the act.
  • Eventually he or she should cave in and admit they did the deed.
  • The offender should say they are sorry.
  • The offended party should forgive them.
  • They should agree one some action to make up for the offense.

We had them play it out on their own, and then asked if anyone wanted to repeat the role-play for the entire class. Every pair but one wanted to play out their scenario. They ere very creative and enthusiastic. I was just a little surprised out much every single student “got into it.” They say students remember 10% of what they are told, but 90% of what they do. Maybe some of this will “stick.”

We used this exercise to introduce the idea that any act of forgiveness, including the Sacrament of Reconciliation, usually involves four distinct steps.

1.) Confession – The offender must own up to the offense.

2.) Contrition – The offender must feel and express regret or sorrow.

3.) Forgiveness – The other party forgives the offender.

4.) Reparation – The offender does something to make up for the offense.

We emphasized these steps match up to the sacramental steps of confession of sins; the Act of Contrition; the priest’s absolution; and the penance.

We talked about some of the other aspects of the sacrament.

Individual confessions are heard at St Peter’s on Saturdays from 4:30-5:00 pm, in the confessional just off of the daily chapel/cry room.

You can call the church office or the rectory to arrange for an individual confession at any time.

In our parish, we usually have two communal reconciliation services, — during Lent and Advent.

The priest is bound to secrecy about whatever you confess.

We talked about how confessions used to be conducted in the dark confessional. Now you can meet the priest face-to-face, or you may still do so anonymously by remaining behind a curtain or screen.

The need for an individual confession led to a discussion of mortal and venial sins. Unfortunately, we really didn’t have the opportunity for much discussion about this. We defined mortal sins as ones as the big ones, like murder, bank robbery and kidnapping. Venial sins are the minor offenses. We didn’t really want to be overly creative about listing mortal sins. We said that mortal sins must be confessed to be forgiven. However, if a person forgets about some venial sins during a confession, they are still covered by the blanket absolution.

For homework, we asked the class to investigate when the parish Lent reconciliation service will be held and to ask their parents to take them. (Tuesday, March 20, 7:00 pm)

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