We approach Confession as the continuance of Baptism’s gift of
forgiveness and conversion. Through the Sacrament of Penance we
receive the grace to live as children of God and the strength to
serve God and neighbor as Jesus taught (Rite of Penance 7). The
Sacrament of Penance helps form our consciences and
strengthens us spiritually, and all the while we are
continually building our relationship with a loving God and being
called to unity with our brothers and sisters. In the Diocese of
Phoenix, the norm for preparation and reception of the Sacrament
of Penance and Reconciliation is to be at the age of
discretion, when a child is around seven years of age. The
grade level at this age tends to be Second Grade.
addition to being at the age of discretion for sacramental
preparation, the candidate must meet the following requirements:
• Be baptized Be Catholic (children baptized in another denomination must make a Profession of Faith)
Have the ability to recognize the difference between
right and wrong, have the capacity for sincere sorrow
• Be properly instructed
• Participation in the sacrament must be a free response of faith.
have a right and a responsibility to be intimately involved
in preparing their children for sacraments and are to be models
for them in the life of Faith. Parents discern the readiness of
their children to prepare for and receive the Sacrament
of Penance in consultation with their pastor or his
delegate. Children, according to their age and capacity, are to
be considered ready to celebrate their First Confession when
• An awareness that God loves them;
• Regular participation in Sunday Mass
• Prayer as a part of the child’s life and also experienced within their family
• A growing ability to distinguish between accidents and the right and wrong choices they make
• A capacity for sincere sorrow and ability to change their actions
• The ability to express sorrow for sin
• A knowledge that relationships with God and others can be broken through sin
An understanding that the Sacrament of Penance and
Reconciliation is a special sign of God’s forgiveness
Act of Contrition
“My God I am sorry for my sins with all my heart.
In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good,
I have sinned against you whom I should love above all things.
I firmly intend, with your help, to do penance, to sin no more,
and to avoid whatever leads me to sin.
Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us.
In his name, my God, have mercy.”