Sin and Reconciliation Lesson Plan for 3rd Grade

This Reconciliation lesson plan helps students understand this Sacrament through Scripture, artwork, a dynamic role play activity and a game.

Key Points of the Reconciliation Lesson Plan

Explain how Jesus instituted the Sacrament of Reconciliation with the Apostles and that is carried on today through our priests. Review the format of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the two kinds of sin–mortal and venial. Pray the Act of Contrition.


Reconciliation, Absolution, Mortal sin, Venial sin, Act of Contrition


Share this post-Resurrection artwork called “Jesus Appears to the Disciples” by William Hole with your class. Lead them to discover the who, what, and when details by reading the prompts to the students. Is Jesus pointing to his wounds?

Scripture: John 21:19-23

Explain that you will now read the Scripture passage that the artwork is depicting. Provide the insight that Jesus only appeared sporadically to the Apostles after the Resurrection so when He did appear it surprised them.

The Disciples were gathered in a room.  Suddenly the risen Christ came to them.  He said, “Peace be with you.”  He showed them the marks from his Crucifixion.  The disciples were filled with joy at seeing Jesus.  Jesus said to them again.  “Peace be with you.  As the Father has sent me so I send you.”

Then he breathed on them and said.  “Receive the Holy Spirit.  Those sins you forgive will be forgiven.”

John 21: 19-23

Read the passage a second time and in doing so ask the class if they can figure our what Sacrament is being described at the end.

Discussion on the Sacrament of Reconciliation

Lead a class through a discussion of the Sacrament of Reconciliation with these prompts.

In the passage, Jesus institutes the Sacrament of Reconciliation by saying “Those sins you forgive will be forgiven.” Many of you experienced the Sacrament of Reconciliation last year (in 2nd gr.) in which your sins were forgiven. Do you remember who has to be at the Sacrament of Reconciliation in order to administer it? In other words who now serves the role that was given by Jesus to the Apostles?…. [a priest]
During Reconciliation, what do you tell the priest? …..[your sins]
How often should we receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation? …..[once a year]
Why do we do this Sacrament?….. [it helps us take responsibility for our sins and our need to make them right]
What special role does the priest play? …..[he absolves (forgives) you of your sins and gives you a small penance]

Activity: Role Play the Rite of Reconciliation


  • Put two chairs facing each other about 3 feet apart at the front of the classroom.
  • Decide which catechist will play the priest and which catechist will play the person going through the Rite of Reconciliation (aka Penitent).
  • Provide the 2 people in the role play a copy of this script.


PRIESTSits down in one chair 
PENITENTApproaches the other chair, sits, down, makes sign of the cross, and says“Bless me Father for I have sinned.”
PRIESTGives an invitation to confess sins“Please trust in God’s guidance as you think about your relationships with God and others.   I invite you to confess your sins and make a good confession.”
PENITENTConfesses sins by saying  “Forgive my father for I have sinned. My last confession was 1 year ago. I am sorry for all my sins but especially for the times when I failed at beinng patient with my children, judging others too often without supporting them and not finding enough time to pray/” For these sins, I am truly sorry.
PRIESTGives penance“For your penance say 3 “Our Fathers” and also do this special task.  Tell someone you love that they are very special and that you appreciate them.  Say it in as caring a voice as possible. Please say an Act of Contrition prayer”
PENITENTSays Act of Contrition“My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, I have sinned against you whom I should love above all things. I firmly intend, with your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin.  Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us.  In his name, my God, have mercy.   AMEN”
PRIESTGives absolution by saying“Through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” 
PRIESTDismisses the penitent with these special words“The Lord has freed you from your sins. Go in peace.”

Print this one page version of the role play script for use, if desired. (If you are practicing for a first Reconciliation, consider substituting this activity by the religion teacher. )

Review Venial and Mortal Sins

Explain to the class how venial sins are small ones and mortal sins are very serious ones. Use the white board to give examples of both. This google slide gives some examples of both:

Game: Sin or Not a Sin

This game is easy to make and it helps students understand the venial sins they face everyday. Allow at least 15 minutes to play.

Follow the full instructions found here. Game fits in a gallon size ziploc bag and can be used over and over again.

Sin Game Board by Catechism Angel at
Game Board and Game Cards

Closing Prayer

Set a prayerful tone with your class and discuss how wonderful it feels after we have experienced the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Invite the children to take 2 minutes to put their heads on the table, close their eyes and think about some recent sins.

Then together recite the “Act of Contrition”. Either use the Google slide below are print off my Act of Contrition prayer cards and distribute them for use.

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