First penance liturgy is usually referred to as “first penance service” and is for children preparing for their first Communion. Often, parents are encouraged to attend the service and make their own confession.

Before children receive their first holy Communion, they are to make their first confession: “It is primarily the duty of parents and those who take the place of parents, as well as the duty of pastors, to take care that children who have reached the use of reason are prepared properly and, after they have made sacramental confession, are refreshed with this divine food as soon as possible. It is for the pastor to exercise vigilance so that children who have not attained the use of reason or whom he judges are not sufficiently disposed do not approach holy communion.” (Canon 914).

Typically, this takes place in the second grade when children are seven or eight years old. Often, the parents and godparents will be invited to participate in the first penance liturgy not only to accompany their children, but also to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation themselves and thus give good example to their children.

It should not be complicated or difficult to organize a first penance liturgy, and if it will promote the practice of confession, I would whole heartedly encourage it.

Rev. Francis Hoffman, J.C.D., Executive Director of Relevant Radio. Follow him on his Facebook page “Father Rocky.”