Sacrament of Reconciliation celebrated at Our Lady of the Sioux

by Shannon Grooms
posted on February 17, 2012

Our Lady of the Sioux Church, Oglala, South Dakota, celebrated the sacrament of Reconciliation on Tuesday, February 07, 2012 at 6 p.m. Seven young men celebrated the sacrament for the first time. Fr. Dan Gannon and Fr. Ben Jimenez heard confessions.

Children as young as seven or eight years old have definitely begun to form their moral consciences. Unfortunately, they receive many mixed messages from the society that surrounds them and bombards them with messages through advertising and mass media.

The Catholic Church considers it to be so important that it help to form the moral conscience of children that all children must be prepared for and celebrate the sacrament of Reconciliation before they celebrate their First Holy Communion. This is what led these seven young men to face their anxieties and uncertainties, and make their first confession before a priest. The priests, knowing that it is hard for the vast majority of them, try hard to set the children at ease and help them to experience the sacrament of God's forgiving love, peace, and strength.

The service started with a traditional Aziliya rite or purification. It then lead into an opening prayer, followed by the Gospel reading of the Good Shepherd. After a reflection on the Gospel, an examination of conscience in the form of the Ten Commandments and reflection questions pertaining to them was read by the young men. After this the confessions began. Each child was led to the reconciliation room by a parent. On the way to the room, the parents stopped at the baptismal font and blessed their child. The parents then waited outside the reconciliation room to escort their child back to the main church. During the time for offering their penance following the confession, traditional flute music was played.

After the confessions were completed, certificates were presented to the first-time participants. A closing prayer was prayed together, and then all present continued the celebration with a meal of pizza, pop, and cookies in the Brother Denny Center.

If you are interested in learning more about any of the Catholic churches on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, contact Fr. Steve Sanford at 605/867-5491 ext 604.