Students typically receive the sacrament of first reconciliation the Tuesday after President’s Day. In celebrating this sacrament of God’s forgiveness, students learn to reestablish their relationship with God and all people through reflection and contrition by saying ‘I’m sorry’ and hearing ‘You are forgiven.’ Through participation in this sacrament we celebrate God’s ready desire to give us the power to change our lives and form ourselves in the image of Jesus through grace.
While reconciliation is a private sacrament that occurs between the priest and the confessor, a unique tradition for first reconciliation at St. Ray’s is the simple yet powerful element of involving family members into the sacrament. Following a communal reconciliation prayer service, students, one by one, bring their families to the altar to meet the priest. Students then proceed to have their confession heard while his/her family waits in their pew. Once students have finished their confession, his/her family greets them with a warm embrace. As a family, they light a candle signifying how our light of God’s mercy snuffs out the darkness. Students then complete their penance before one of the beautiful statues in the Cathedral.
Students in grades 3-8 examine their hearts, look at their attitudes, words and actions, and then come before God to take responsibility for them through the sacrament of reconciliation two times of year: during the Advent and Lent seasons.