Reconciliation is the act of making amends and offering apologies in order to again be friends and enjoy peace with the other person or people.
Imagine two friends who have a fight or argument. The good relationship they once enjoyed is strained to the point of breaking. They cease speaking to each other; communication is deemed too awkward. The friends gradually become strangers. Such estrangement can only be reversed by reconciliation. To be reconciled is to be restored to friendship or harmony.
Penance is repentance of sins as well as the proper name of the Roman Catholic, Orthodox Christian, and Anglican Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation/Confession. The word penance derives from Old French and Latin poenitentia, both of which derive from the same root meaning repentance, the desire to be forgiven.
Some great background reading
The sacrament of Penance or Reconciliation has a rather sorted history. Find out about it in this short summary.
This chart offers a visual for understanding the history of reconciliation.
Don't miss this article. The title is misleading, so don't be put off. You could gain a new and deeper understanding of a confusing sacrament.
Seven Frequently Asked Questions about Children and theSacrament of Reconciliation
Here are the guidelines for the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis
All parents may want to read pages 3 and 4 of this document for guidelines in preparation for the sacrament.
Parents of children read over pages 1-2 and 5-6 and discuss them with your child. Omit numbers 8 and 9 on page 2 for now.
On the second page down there are activities about mistakes and forgiveness you may wish to complete with your child.
For Computer time: There are plenty of activities for older or younger children to choose from at this site.
Here is a puppet play for your family to do about the act of contrition