Here is a photo of me at my first communion when I was in the second grade. I am with my brother who was an alter boy. Sweet, huh?
Although I went to Catholic school for 8 years and church every Sunday, religion did not stick. First confession is an act that was required in my school when you reach the 4th grade. One day my whole class was to go to church together and one by one, go in the back room of the church to confess our sins for the first time. This was supposed to get the ball rolling for our future confessions.
I was terrified when I went to confession, not of God, but of the Monsignor who was to hear me. I felt like I really needed to come up with a sin, because I could not go in with nothing, so I decided to tell him about my problem with shoplifting.
He heard my confession, but did not have much to say about it. Then he asked if I had ever lied to my parents or been mean to my siblings. Well, duh. I was instantly annoyed that I could have just told him these things, instead of the more serious stealing.
He told me my penance, which was something like: Say 10 “Hail Mary” prayers and 10 “Our Fathers”. I went back into the church where my parents were sitting and knelt down in front of the pew. I did not say my penance (which you were supposed to do in your head), but instead just kind of waited until I thought enough time had past before I sat back down, head bowed with the appropriate amount of shame.
Even though the Monsignor was sat behind a screen when I told him my sins, I thought for sure he knew who I was when I walked by him in the hall at school and it made me feel a little paranoid and judged. Oh well, I guess he could never tell my parents anyway and that was for sure my last confession.