Saturday, 3 December 2011
Today J made his first reconciliation - that's "confession" to anyone not Catholic. It is much less austere than it sounds and merely involved J having a chat with the lovely FrB about something he wanted to say sorry for. First though we needed some "getting in the spirit" of things which is where Fr B often comes into his own - and today was no exception!
So we had The Parable of the Lost Sheep and Fr B ever a performer announced to the waiting congregation that he and SrC had gone into buisness together as "sheep farmers"! Apparently they had a "small flock" of about six sheep in the garden but...one of them kept wandering off.
There then followed a small session with the children suggesting ways in which the sheep could be found before FrB said that in fact the lost sheep was in the church and could the children find it. Everyone looked round and high up on the mezzanine level was a cardboard cut out of a sheep with a sad looking face. A "shepherd" was dispatched to fetch the sheep back down to rejoin the flock, and by the time it reached the front of the church the "sad face" had been replaced with the attachment of the cheesiest grin you have ever seen - the illustration above is the nearest I can get to it but it tickled J who spent the rest of the service giggling whenever he looked at said sheep.
There then followed discussion about the significance of this story and Jesus being called "The Good Shepherd" who would never turn away anyone or judge them but simply welcome them back.
J's "confession" is private so I won't repeat it here but I know what it is and I am proud of him for finding the strength to talk about it. Last week he had to write down what he wanted to discuss and took this with him to see the Priest. After the children had been up there was a public shredding of all the "confessions" to signify absolution - I guess fire would have been too risky on health and safety grounds. I like the idea of "getting rid of old problems"and recognising that although they may still be things we need to work on, we can learn from experience and spend time trying to be more mindful.
After J made his first reconciliation I decided to make mine - not being Catholic I have never done this before so it was a first for me too. I had a lovely chat with another Fr who was really great and very sensible regarding what I wanted to share. After this I prayed with him and left feeling much calmer - J was incensed that I had been such a long time - who knew I'd been so bad lol.
Fr B then ended by producing his own confession - an A4 sheet of paper covered with typed comments - he reminded the children that he also got things wrong at times.....then opened up the A4 page to show it covered 5 A4 pages taped together - it was as tall as he is. J thought this was very funny - likewise he was encouraged to shred the "confession" and "let it go" after which he did a lap of honour to great cheers around the church!
It was lovely and I have sent an email to Fr B to say a big Thank You for making it all such fun and appropriate to the ages of the children. I said a special thank you for his understanding of J and accepting that he might need extra support.