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Katie Fitzgerald reviews Renewed, a new course for preparing kids for the sacrament of Reconciliation.  

Renewed: Your Journey to First Reconciliation is a brand-new religious education curriculum from Ascension Press designed to prepare children for the sacrament of Reconciliation. This program provides videos, a workbook, and a guidebook directed at children, as well as a Leader’s Guide and Parent’s Guide for adult teachers.  

Both the student workbook and the Renewed guidebook are very attractive. Works of art from a variety of Catholic artists depict Biblical scenes, familiar saints, and other images related to the subject matter discussed in each chapter. These pictures are mostly contemporary but there are a few older, classic works mixed in.  


The workbook is very much like the typical CCD textbook that most students and catechists are familiar with. Each chapter includes a mix of writing activities, information to read, and opportunities for prayer. There is also a worksheet in each chapter that goes along with the video for that lesson, and a page of suggested topics for family discussion.   

The videos portray a contemporary Catholic family living out the faith day to day. They do have a fairly didactic tone to them, since they are meant to be morally instructive, but the family feels very real, and the situations they deal with are relatable and familiar. These videos are neither cheesy nor outdated.  

The guidebook, Renewed by Jesus: My Guide to Reconciliation by Colin and Aimee Maciver, is more of a reference for kids to keep handy as they prepare not only for their First Reconciliation, but for any time they go to Confession. It summarizes the material taught in the textbook, provides examinations of conscience according to the Ten Commandments, the Beatitudes, and the Seven Deadly Sins, and lays out the step-by-step process for making a good Confession. It is my favorite of all the components of this curriculum, as it can be used again and again, and the child can comfortably read and understand it independently. My 7-year-old daughter has read my review copy at least twice already, and it has sparked a lot of great questions and conversation.  

Renewed is a fresh and contemporary-feeling program directed at today’s families. The subject matter is firmly grounded in the age-old teachings of the Church, but the way the materials are designed is very much of our present time period. Ascension provides several different packages, both for students and for leaders, some with only the online components, and others with both online and physical materials. There are also certification courses available to prepare leaders and parents to teach the curriculum.



If your family, homeschool group, or parish is seeking a solid program to provide a strong foundation for children preparing for First Reconciliation, this well-designed, child-friendly, and family-oriented curriculum is a great choice.  


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Read Cassidy Van Slyke Blenke's review of the companion program, Received

Copyright 2023 Katie Fitzgerald
Images: (top, center) Ascension Press; (bottom) Canva