Gus, Gus, Gus. The boy of whom a priest once remarked, “Well, if you didn’t want him to give you trouble, you probably shouldn’t have named him Augustine.” Touché.

Gus is athletic and earnest and affectionate and goofy and confident. Really confident. Really, really confident. He has a natural rapport with teen-aged girls. And my good friend Hope Schneir (of the best Folk band this side of the Head and the Heart) says that if she weren’t already married to Mr. Schneir, she’d marry Gus. Which seems only natural to him. 

His favorite things are running faster than everyone else, snuggling, making non sequitur comments, and touching soft stuff. At night, he sleeps with an old ermine-fur collar that belonged to my grandmother.

That Gus . . . had his First Reconciliation on Saturday.

Father Paul Donlan, who I would nominate as “Person I Know Who Is Most Likely to Be Canonized,” heard all of our confessions. But Gus got to go first. When I came out, Gus said, “Wow, that must have been a good one. You were in there a really long time.” I’m not really sure how to respond to that.

Anita felt disappointed that she couldn’t go to confession, because after all, “Even though I’m four, I did once lie about being sick.” But Father Paul told us that she COULD go to confession, she just couldn’t receive absolution. She’d get a blessing instead. Same goes for non-Catholics. You can go to confession, lay down your burdens, and receive a blessing. Who knew? Not me. (For the requirements to receive absolution, see here.

Afterwards, Nana and Grandad took Father Paul and Gus and all the rest of us out for a special dinner complete with giant cookies EVEN THOUGH IT’S LENT. Score one for the sacraments.

To celebrate Gus’s first reconciliation, I’m going to give away a copy of my book: A Little Book about Confession for Children. I used it to help Gus prepare for the great event. It has the Gus Seal of Approval. I’ll ship anywhere in the world . . . so, bring it on, internationals. 

As a free bonus {not available in stores} you’ll also get a little notepad of write-on checklist pages.

This checklist didn’t make the final cut of the book, but it has been useful to my own kids. So, I’m going to make it available to you here on the ol’ blog.

You can download it for free as a photo by right clicking on it and selecting “Save image as . . .” then, have it printed as a 4×6 photo on photo paper (or just laminate it with a laminator or packing tape). Your child can write on it with a dry- or wet-erase marker before his confession. Then, he can wipe it clean with a tissue or baby wipe afterwards . . . just as his soul has been wiped clean by the Sacrament of Confession.

OR, you can download it for free as a pdf document.

Click here to download it as one checklist per 8.5×11 page.

Click here to download it as four checklists per 8.5×11 page.

Then, print the pages at home as needed, in color or black and white. After his confession, your child can shred the paper, or burn it. My kids like to burn them. And it really helps them to understand that the sins that were on that page are just as gone as the paper they were written upon.

Finally, if you have the book already, would you take a moment to leave a review on Amazon? My sincere thanks to the five folks who have reviewed it already.

To enter the giveaway, please leave a joke for Gus in the comments. Be sure to check back next Sunday, April 20th, to see if you won.

The giveaway is now over, thanks to all who entered and congratulations to Bethany, the winner and Amelia and Betsy, the runners-up! Please feel free to keep leaving jokes here for Gus. :0)