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The joy of reconciliation – reflections and activities

Michele Frankeni  |  21 February 2019

Read The unbelievable thing in the Autumn 2019 edition of Australian Catholics and take part in the following questions activities.


  1. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is also known as the Sacrament of Confession or Sacrament of Penance. Why the different names?
  2. There is a saying ‘Confession is good for the soul’. What does that mean? How does it relate to Tom, Dylan and Harry?
  3. Why did they lose the trust of their friends and families?
  4. What does it mean to reap the seeds you’ve sown?
  5. Can you think of things that you’ve done ­– good or bad – that have had consequences?
  6. How do you make amends to people you’ve wronged?


1. Pope Francis has previously offered some tips in a 2015 booklet Safeguard Your Heart to help prepare for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Catholics should go to Confession, the Pope said, because everyone needs forgiveness for their sins, for the ways ‘we think and act contrary to the Gospel’. ‘Whoever says he is without sin is a liar or is blind’, he wrote. He advocated an ‘examination of conscience’, in which one quietly reviews what bad things one has done and what good things one has failed to do for God, one’s neighbour and oneself.

Have the students discuss the Pope’s tips for making a good Confession. Do they all apply to them? Do they agree? Do they do all, some or any of them?

2. Have the students brainstorm the benefits of receiving the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation. Divide them into groups of three or four and have each group design a TV commercial, billboard, or magazine ad encouraging people to be reconciled with others. Have them come up with a logo or slogan for use. Get each group to share their work.

For younger students

Teachers read or summarise The unbelievable thing. Talk with your students about the Sacrament of Reconciliation and what it means to say sorry and be forgiven. Tell them that Jesus offers us absolution, or forgiveness, in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Separate the class into small groups and give them clumps of tangled materials ­– wool, chains, paperclips, string, rubber bands (any items that can be easily tangled). Direct the children to work together to untangle the messes.

The word ‘absolution’ comes from a Latin word meaning ‘to loosen from, or to separate’. Talk about how when students wrong other people they become tangled and how hard it can be to ‘separate or loosen from’ sin. 


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