I have the best First Reconciliation story. Best story ever... But first the beautiful day.
I have to tell you that we go to the most amazing church. Our friends are family there. And we love it. I teach second grade Religious Education (traditional program) on Sunday mornings. I have 17 children in my class but there are other options for religious education. There is a family class that meets only monthly for a whole afternoon or there is Catechesis of the Good Shepherd which is more of a Montisory type approach started by Pope John Paul. There are a total of approximately 50 children all together in the second grade sacramental year of First Communion and First Reconciliation.
In addition to regular classes this sacramental year is a packed one for these second graders. They meet twice a month on Sunday afternoons for meditation/Bible Study. And then there are two retreats. One for First Reconciliation and one for First Communion.
This Saturday was the First Reconciliation Retreat day. I have to admit that I was a bit scattered (and didn't take the pictures I normally would have) this weekend due to constant worry and concern about my Dad. (I will post more when I can) But thank goodness for this beautiful Retreat in the middle of the chaos.
Wonderful volunteers and teachers....
The children traveled through four stations.
One included a tour of the Church (yup, no pictures)
A reminder of Baptism...
And special snack times (no pictures again)
It was peaceful and calm and oh so beautiful. I found myself learning along with the second graders and loving the reminders of the faith I hold so dear.
After the stations we headed back to the Church for the Family Reconciliation service. Father Tom spoke to the children and then they were headed off to the places for First Reconciliation. Abigail was sure she wanted Father John and waited her turn. I actually think it was more about the 'little room' that Father John was in than the 'who'.
I watched and waited in the pews as the children came back one by one. They were all smiling and bouncing happily. And then came Abigail. She was not bouncing, and she was not happy. "How'd it go?" I asked.
"Horrible! I want a do-over."
"Okay, we can try again," I said it really without thinking. In that mommy moment I just wanted to solve this for her. I knew that her first time needed to be a good memory and a gift. I desperately wanted this for her.
So I quickly put her in the Father Tom line explaining to the teacher in charge that Abigail wanted a "do-over".
I wasn't worried. She was in good hands. Father Tom's hands. And although I knew no pictures were allowed, I just couldn't help myself.
Whatever he said, it went perfectly. And so her second Reconciliation ended with a bouncing, happy little girl.
A candle service on the alter.
From the Baptismal oil to the candle at the end it was just what our little family needed this Saturday morning. And for our faith, the strong traditions, and all that matters right now, we are grateful.