The Role of Parents in Preparation for the Sacraments
As a parent, you are an important contributor to your child’s experience in celebrating the sacraments. By your own faith, you teach your child the beauty and value of Catholic belief and practice.
Children receive their Catholic identity first and foremost from their parents. Your example of participation in Sunday Mass, in the life of the parish community, and your own life of prayer and service is a strong foundation for your child’s preparation for the sacraments.
We invite you to participate in the different activities we offer in the Religious Program as we prepare your child to receive the Sacraments.
The St. Denis Religious Education Program coordinates Sacramental preparation for First Reconciliation celebrations. Parents of children in 2nd grade should receive notification of important dates and meetings in September at the beginning of the religious school year.
If you are a parent of a child in second grade and have not received this information, please contact the Religious Education Office. Children must be enrolled in the parish Religious Education program and begin preparation for this Sacrament in first grade.
Individual and integral confession remains the only ordinary way for us to reconcile ourselves with God and the Church. A Catholic who has committed mortal (grave) sin is obliged to seek God's forgiveness in this sacrament as soon as possible.
In ordinary circumstances, a Catholic who has committed mortal sin should not receive Holy Communion before receiving sacramental absolution. Not only does God forgive our sins, but we also receive the power of God's Grace to struggle against sin and to be strengthened in our commitment to God and the Church. So powerful is the Grace of this Sacrament that the Introduction to the Rite of Penance reminds us that frequent and careful celebration of this Sacrament is also very useful as a remedy for venial sins. This is not a mere ritual repetition or psychological exercise, but a serious striving to perfect the grace of baptism so that, as we bear in our body the death of Jesus Christ, his life may be seen in us ever more clearly.
The Sacrament of Mercy, Reconciliation, Confession, Penance, is a beautiful gift given by Jesus Himself and therefore an integral part of being a Catholic. Therefore, everyone should attend the Sacrament regularly, especially when they have committed a serious or mortal sin. However, every parishioner should at least make worthy Confession twice each year in preparation for Christmas and Easter.
Regarding Confession, the Catechism of the Catholic Church (#1496) teaches that the spiritual effects of the Sacrament are:
- reconciliation with God by which the penitent recovers Grace;
- reconciliation with the church;
- remission of the eternal punishment incurred by mortal sins;
- remission, at least in part, of temporal punishments resulting from sin;
- peace and serenity of conscience, and spiritual consolation;
- an increase of spiritual strength for the Christian battle.