The Sacramental Preparation Program for Penance is a 2-year preparation program that begins in 1st grade. The sacrament is generally received in the child’s 2nd grade year. Parents are the primary teachers of their children and Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish tries to provide opportunities for the parents to reflect upon their role, as well as give helpful hints to make this a more meaningful family experience as the students journey to receive the sacrament of Penance for the first time. The Director of Faith Formation, along with Father Bashista, Father Dort, Deacon Rob, and the Family Faith Formation Administrative Assistant are here to support the parents and families during this process.


Sheri Suess
Director of Faith Formation
Send Email | (703) 494-4008 ext. 130

Mylene Garcia
Faith Formation Administrative Assistant
Send Email | (703) 494-4008 ext. 135

Please contact our office if you need assistance.

For the 2022-2023 Penance Program

The Preparation Program for Penance kicks off with a Parent Information Meeting in October where you learn more about this amazing sacrament and receive the important details and dates. The parents and students will then attend a mandatory Penance Retreat in December. The children will go over how to go to the sacrament of Penance, how to do an examination of conscience, tour the confessionals, and enjoy time with the other children in our parish receiving the sacrament. Parents will be meeting to review the sacrament of Penance, how to prepare their child for the sacrament, and to bond with other parents while engaging in small group discussions.  The students will receive the sacrament of Penance at the First Penance Celebration in January– parents and families are highly encouraged to make it a family event and receive the sacrament along with their children.
** The retreat is mandatory for both the child and at least one parent to attend; but of course, both parents are welcome! **

First Penance Policies

  • Those preparing for the Sacrament of First Penance must attend Mass regularly as well as an approved Faith Formation class each week.
  • Review the Penance and First Communion Schedule and mark all important and mandatory meetings dates on your calendar (children must be accompanied by at least one parent for the mandatory Penance Retreat)
  • Make sure the Family Faith Formation Office has a copy of your child’s baptismal certificate no later than Friday, November 18, 2022

    for more information and details on dress code and other important dates, please see our FULL First Penance Policies

Fees Include:

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Penance and First Communion Fees Include:
– Sacrament preparation materials for the students including a keepsake guide for making a good confession and Mass prayers and responses both for using before and after the sacraments of Penance and First Communion.

– Materials for our half day retreats in December and April for both children and parents

– Certificates for both sacraments (Penance and First Communion)

– Flowers and cantors for both sacraments
A reception and photographer who takes photos of each child receiving their

– First Communion and our group photo. We send a copy of these to each family.

– Stipends for 5 priests for Penance

Please contact our office if you cannot afford this fee.

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