Brother Francis. My regular readers will recognize this series from my review of their first three DVDs in this series. Well, today I am reviewing Episode 4 - Brother Francis Presents Forgiven!
This episode starts out with Brother Francis forgetfully wearing a heavy tool-belt, which he compares to carrying around sin before going to Confession. This leads us to an explanation of what our conscience is, how it can lead us to make right or wrong choices, and several examples of both types of choices. A song is then sung called "God is a Loving Father," which reminds us that God wants to help and love us.
Sins are then compared to rules or laws. This isn't always the best explanation, but the DVD shows us that rules/laws are in place for our own good. This is a good way to explain it to children. Children are then presented with the Parable of the Pharisee and the Publican (or tax collector). For some reason, this parable is not read yearly in the Catholic Church. However, it is read every Lent in the Orthodox Church. I wish we read it more as it teaches an important lesson about approach God with a humble heart when seeking forgiveness. We are then told of ways we sin in thought, word, deed, and omission.
The remainder of the DVD explains how to make a good confession. It starts with an examination of conscience. Next, we go to see a priest, either face-to-face or behind a screen. Brother Francis then walks you through Confession and reassures you that the priests won't judge you but want to help you. What penance is and the necessity of it is then explained. Brother Francis helps your children learn an Act of Contrition. Lastly, there is the song, "Praise God, I'm Forgiven."
This was a great little DVD, like all the Brother Francis DVDs. I would recommend it for a First Communion class of second graders, as they have their First Reconciliation as well! However, it can also be used for slightly older children who need a gentle reminder that Confession is necessary and shouldn't be a scary event. Unfortunately, teenagers and adults need to hear this message as well. So pick up this and all the Brother Francis DVDs for your kids or your religious education class. The next episode is about Baptism and is called Born into the Kingdom, and there is supposed to be one coming out about The Mass soon. They also have DVDs for older kids about Jesus, St. Augustine, and St. Philomena, which I'm sure are great as well!
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