Our third grade parishioners had a first experience this morning: Confession. It is always so special to see them before and after receiving the sacrament. I usually go out and speak with them about fifteen minutes before we begin the service sort of to “warm up” the crowd. They are always so frightened and/or nervous and I want to calm them down. I get them laughing and talking and help them to ramp their nervousness down a bit.
Afterwards, the smiles on their faces tell it all. They are euphoric. They faced their fright. They confessed their sins. They found the Lord’s forgiveness and not rejection or ridicule. Hopefully, they felt so good about their First Confession that they will have the courage to come back throughout their lives. That first experience is enough to make or break them.
Congratulations, third graders. You learned your prayers well, you learned how to go to the sacrament well, and you did a great job!