An experience of grace: First Communicants and Confirmands Experience the joy of Confession

Fr Leonard E Dollentas

On May 22, 2022, the Pastoral Center for Filipino Migrants in Macao organized Confession for First Communicants and Confirmands. Most of the candidates for First Communion and Confirmation have been prepared through the Sunday school program at the Pastoral Center.  Children normally are nervous and scared about their very first Confession.

Fr José Mario Mandia, who spent his time being the confessor of the group, and the catechists, who prepared them, were all around to calm them and to help them with the necessary steps for a good Confession.

The actual confessing of sins is the part of the sacrament of Confession that most people are afraid of, even grownups.  We do not need to fear.  There is nothing we are going to confess that the priest has not already heard.  He has listened to confessions of lying, cheating, gossiping, violence, pornography use, fornication, homosexual behavior, abortion, sterilization, IVF use, etc.  He has heard it all.  We should not be afraid to bring darkness into the light and welcome the grace of the mercy and forgiveness of God through the priest. Confession is one of the most significant reliefs and the greatest gift God extends to us.  Do not be afraid to go anytime you need it.

It is such a blessing and great feeling, not only just after we have done with Confession, but long after, as God gives us the strength to overcome the sins we recalled.  In the sacrament of Reconciliation, it is wonderful to remember that we encounter Christ in the sacraments. No matter what our sin and flaws are, God’s love, mercy and forgiveness are endless. The part about the father’s encounter with the prodigal son in the Gospel is a great way to prepare for this sacrament. Our God is a God who only wants to love us. In the sacrament of Reconciliation, we let God be that father who was forever looking down that road, hoping to see his child.

We should make it a habit to go to Confession at least once a month, even if we have not committed a mortal sin.  It is just a good rule of thumb, and we want to be in the habit of going. We pray that as God granted our candidates for First Communion the courage and clarity to have a good first Confession, these children and the children from other communities may prepare their hearts worthily for their First Communion and Confirmation.

( Photo credit: Fr José Mario Mandia)