It is important to understand that ongoing moral catechesis is essential for not only children, but for all baptized. It is fundamental to the lives of a Christian and should be a part of ones early childhood formation. The formation of children not only falls on the shoulders of the priest, catechists, teachers and parish, but most importantly on the parents. They are the primary educators and the most important influence on the faith development of their children. By their very example, the parents’ attitudes, values and practices concerning the concept of God, their understanding of self, their prayer lives, their morality, etc., are constantly being communicated to their children. The best catechesis for the child’s first reception of the Sacrament of Penance must involve the parents.
As the children begin to grow in their faith it is an opportunity for parents to renew and deepen their understanding of the sacrament. There should be different times in the preparation the children that the parents can be involved – at least two sessions should be provided. Both parents should be encouraged to attend and participate in the preparation sessions. There are different ways in which you can involve the parents and or the parish community. Some of the ways listed: a program offered to the whole parish with required attendance for parents of children preparing for First Reconciliation; required sessions in the church or school setting with optional ones in homes.
“Topics for the parent sessions could include: Sharing of parents’ understanding and experience of the sacrament both past and present to clarify and identify positive attitudes to communicate to their children; a history of the sacrament to understand the contemporary expression and celebration of it; an understanding of reconciliation – the concept related to the family, daily Christian living as well as the sacrament; an understanding of sin including the social and ecclesial dimensions; formation of conscience and moral growth from pre-school through adult levels; the celebration of the Sacrament of Penance, communal and individual reception, which could include a role-playing situation; an overview of the program for the catechesis of the children; explanation of home activities and practical suggestions of how parents can enrich and support catechesis; prayer experiences and Scriptural background related to reconciliation.”
At the parish level of involvement, the children receiving the Sacrament of Penance for the first time should be able to see the parish support. This can be given in support by prayer to the child, their families and to the catechists. The faithful in the parish are to witness the faith the children. A variety of things can be done to notify the parish of their preparation: announcements, inserts in the bulletin, homilies given by the pastor, sessions that are open and instructional, liturgical celebrations and even a parish reception following the first celebration of Penance. There are many ways to show support and to provide growth for the parish family who will continue to assist in the formation of the children.
Pastoral Guidelines, pg 15, (1998).
 Pastoral Guidelines, pg 16, (1998).