Dear Teachers, What follows in this document is an optional classroom celebration to do with your class on the day the priests come to your school to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The celebration should start approximately ½ hour before your scheduled time to participate in the sacrament. The celebration is paused at the indicated part of the service for your class to go receive the sacrament. If there is a time gap between pausing the celebration in the classroom and leaving for confessions, then students are asked to do quiet reading or a quiet activity. Once the students have finished meeting with the priest, then they can conclude the celebration as indicated in the document. If you have any questions about this documents and how to implement it please contact Laura Tapson at [email protected] or 780-897-0451. ~L. Tapson Advent Reconciliation Classroom Celebration Setting/Materials: Prayer Table, Bowl of Water, PowerPoint, Bible Leader: Today we are reminded that God loves us and forgives us when we make mistakes or when we do something wrong. God wants to be our best friend. But when we do what we know God doesn’t want, we hurt our friendship with God. We call the things that hurt our friendship with God, “sins”. There is a way to become God’s friend again after we have sinned. We can tell God we are sorry for our sins and do what is right. When we do that, God always forgives us. We become God’s close friends once again. During the time of Advent as we prepare for the birth of Jesus, our brother, we prepare by making things right between ourselves and God, and between ourselves and others that we love. When we do that, we are allowing our hearts to be filled with love for God and others and we will be able to celebrate Jesus’ birth right in our hearts once again. Let us take a moment of prayer to ask God to be with us. Show slide 1 on the ppt, together with students read the opening prayer. Leader: Let’s now join together and sing the Advent song Show slide 2 on the ppt, together sing the song, the lyrics are there, do the actions if possible (if the video will not play, the wreath in the bottom left corner is a link to the video) Leader: We will now read from the Gospel of Mark Show slide 3, the video on the reading (if the video will not play, the wreath in the bottom left corner is a link to the video) Leader: John the Baptist was born around the same time as Jesus. When they were older, John announced the coming of Jesus as a preacher and healer. John baptized people in the Jordan River and warned people that they’d better clean up their act before Jesus got there. He told them, “Prepare the Way of the Lord!” God did people a big favor by sending John out to be the announcer of Jesus. If it hadn’t been for John, people wouldn’t have known that Jesus the Messiah was among them. John would probably be called weird today. He lived by himself in the desert, not far from the Dead Sea. John wore clothes made out of camel hair, which is itchy, uncomfortable, and hot for someone who lives in the desert. On top of all that, he ate mostly grasshoppers and wild honey! People gathered to see this strange man. John would preach to them about the Good News of the Messiah coming, and that they should let him wash away their sins so that they could be prepared for Jesus to come. Even Jesus was baptized by John; not because he had sinned, but because Jesus wanted be like us in all things. Jesus had to prepare for the Good News to be told, just like we do too, by asking God to forgive us when we make mistakes. Now we are going to spend some time thinking about if we have done anything wrong that we want to ask God’s forgiveness for. We are going to do this by asking ourselves questions, this is called an Examination of Conscience. Go through slides 4 - 8 on the ppt. Read each question and pause after each one in order to allow for students to reflect. There is no need to have them respond aloud. Leader: Let us pray together and ask for God’s forgiveness. Read slide 9 as a group Leader: We will be going to a different area and meeting with the Priests. These are the things you will need to do when it is your turn to meet with the priest. Go through slide 10 & 11 of the ppt with the students. Students are not to take any papers down with them.. All students are invited to go and speak with the priest, they will simply receive a blessing if they are not Catholic. When called take students to the area designated for reconciliation. Once back in the classroom; make sure bowl of water is set up, show slide 12 Leader: John the Baptist used water to cleanse the people who wanted to be free from their sins and failures. He washed them in water so that they can be clean and start over. We use this water to help remind us that Jesus cleanses us and helps us to start over. For this we are thankful. We are thankful for the gift of water, the gift of new life, the gift of God’s love. Invite each student to come up dip their fingers in the water and cross themselves. Leader: Please join me in our closing prayer. Go to slide 13. After reading the closing prayer together invite students to join you in an Our Father.