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Preparing Your Kids for First Reconciliation and First Communion With Jackie Angel

As spring begins, many children prepare to receive two sacraments for the first time: Reconciliation and Eucharist. Speaker and singer Jackie Angel joins the show to discuss her and her husband Bobby’s involvement in two new programs from Ascension Press, “Renewed: Your Journey to First Reconciliation” and “Received: Your Journey to First Communion.”

“Two of our children are actually going through First Reconciliation and First Communion this year,” Jackie says. “So it’s been cool not just to kind of talk about it in theory, but really as parents, how we are preparing our own children for these two Sacraments.” Jackie and Bobby are featured in the program’s videos as well as the parent and leader trainings.

Jackie describes how the programs can be implemented at a parish level or at home. “Bobby and I watched the videos with all of our kids, and they loved [them]. They were laughing and giggling, and I was just watching their faces,” Jackie says. “It was great to watch it with them to see, ‘Okay, what do they actually think?’” 

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Jackie and Bobby have four children and are pregnant with their fifth, and she explains how they approach faith and parenting. She says, “I’m one of those parents in the video making everything about our faith. When we watch movies, whether it’s “Kung Fu Panda,” we’re trying to relate it to our kids’ lives and their faith. When we’re talking at dinner [we’ll say], ‘What did you see that they did right? And what did you see that maybe isn’t so good?’”

“We love culture, we love truth, beauty and goodness, and we want that to apply to our kids’ faith, so that they understand it and it makes sense to them in their head,” she continues. 

A mom of a daughter under the age of two, Krista asks what advice Jackie has for those early years of parenting. “Your kids need to know that you can handle their big emotions,” Jackie says. “It’s so hard when kids are throwing [such] tantrums that you literally think they need to be rebaptized. You’re like, ‘Do we need an exorcism in the room? Because I told them they couldn’t have the blue cup and now their head is spinning and they’re screaming.’ It can rile you up, but you realize it’s not personal. These kids literally just don’t have that part of their brain formed yet.”

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Jackie describes a time one of her daughters, Zélie, threw a tantrum and hit her brother. “I came into her room and I said, ‘Zélie, why do I love you?’ And we’ve taught our kids to say, ‘Because I’m your daughter’ or ‘Because I’m your son.’ So they know we love them, not because of what they do, but because of who they are. I said, ‘I love you even when you do bad things.’ And she just paused for a second and looked perplexed…she literally thought when she was in timeout that mommy and daddy stop loving her.”

Jackie notes how we mistakenly think our parents’ love is conditional, and that God’s love is too. “Maybe we feel like we have to earn God’s love and that we can lose God’s love,” she says. “We share that in this program about reconciliation, God never stopped loving us, no matter if we do bad things. He loves us because we are his children, because of who we are, not because of what we do. Obviously he wants the best for us, he wants us to do good, because he wants us to be free and holy.”