FALL 2021 - Spring 2022

St. Anthony of Padua

Religious Education


To Register Your Child for

First Penance/First Holy Communion classes:

click the oval Registration Form way at the bottom of this page, and fill out the form online... 

      Question or comment? 

call Joyce Crandley

(860) 485-1247

use the contact box below 

or write us at sapreligioused@gmail.com



Every Sunday morning (except the 2nd Sunday of every month)



and the HOME tab,


and we'll also e-mail you a reminder

before each class

Every Second Sunday of each month families meet upstairs in the church

at St. Anthony of Padua, Litchfield


so that children readying for their first Penance & first Holy Communion can spend some time with Jesus in the Tabernacle...we give Him flowers, have our lesson, and the children will be given a bag of that months' craft "ingredients" for the monthly crafts that will be listed on this website.

Good Morning Parents.

We ended the class reading a child's book, The Miracle of Easter.


My hope and prayer is that throughout these classes your children learned many facts about Jesus, and our faith, but more importantly, learned:

-How much Jesus loves them

-How much they love Jesus

-to understand the Trinity (the mystery of our One God in Three Persons)

-what the Eucharist is - Jesus humbling himself, in love, so as to nourish our souls

-the excitement of Mass - Heaven coming to earth to share His glory--in SO many ways

-that sin is wrong - and our challenge - so important to erase, that Jesus died on the cross for us...

-and that that's how important they are to God, to their heavenly family, to you their earthly family, to their community, and to the world.


I will leave more banner kits in the Confession Room this week.  You may also make your own if you wish (the internet has endless ideas).  Bring the Banners with you on the morning of your child's Communion--place it over the end of any pew that has a white rose on it.  Remember to take the banner with you after Mass :).


I will be at each First Holy Communion Mass for if you have any questions at all, and to pray for your child.


Please check out smallthingswithgreatlove.info for changes and updates, and fun ideas all Summer.  Beginning in August, Register for next year's classes online at smallthingswithgreatlove.info..


May their special First Holy Communion Day be the first of endless Communions with Jesus!


God Bless!



Joyce Crandley, DRE

St. Anthony of Padua, Litchfield


(860) 485-247



Remember to practice using the hand movements.   It will be easier to recall...


Check out the book we read by Annemarie Thimons. a Catholic homeschooling Mom from New York, called What is the Eucharist? - It is part of the Curious.Little.Catholic.Series:  www.curiouslittlecatholic.com

Congratulations to the Brave Children who did their

First Penance:

Monday January 10th,

at 6:30 at St. Anthony's.  

For the few children who couldn't make it that night--I'll leave this up...


                                The Children Should Know that --Penance/Confession/Reconcilliation are all names for the Sacrament they are receiving...

--They should be brought into the Confessional to see, logistically, where they are to kneel and confess...(most did that in class),

--They should know the Ten Commandments and the Act of Contrition--both have been taught with the songs from this website...

   And the Glory Be, Hail Mary, and Our Father if possible.  I will be giving them a prayer cube as they walk in--it has a prayer on each of its sides, so in case they haven't completely memorized their prayers, they can feel comfortable...  

--In the next several weeks I encourage parent/child conversations to help them realize when they have done something "confession-worthy" (...you know when you don't mind me you are breaking the 4th commandment and should confess that), or (...you might want to bring to confession that you are working on being more patient/less crabby when you wait on line...)  In class I will be encouraging the children to write a list to begin the process of realizing they DO sometimes do things wrong or need to grow in some of the virtues...  

--They should practice the process (we will also continue to do that in class): 

--Walk in and kneel on the kneeler

--Bless me Father, for I have sinned, this is my first Confession...

--What are your sins?

They have been prompted to use their fingers to go through the 10 Commandments song to help them recognize/recall their sins 

     (they have also been taught the virtues/vices to notice what they should be doing less/more of...)

--After their list :), Monsignor will say the words that "wash their soul"

then Monsignor will ask them to say their Act of Contrition (they can say it or sing it)

--Then they "float" out of the room, all clean and happy, feeling loved and cherished by Jesus' mercy :)

--Then they kneel at the pew and say the prayer(s) that Monsignor gives them for Penance.


It's up to you whether you'd like to do something special afterward to create a memory ("cocoa or a treat because being good is sweet" :)...blowing bubbles out the car window...a decade of the Rosary at bedtime...).   Consider creating a memory that can be repeated... to make the process of going to Confession again and again "sweet".  


What they wear to kneel next to Jesus and confess is completely up to you.   Most children wear regular church clothes, but I've seen a few dress up for the occasion.  


In class we will be referencing New Year's Resolutions, and realizing that as Catholic's, every time we go to Mass, where by attending and participating, our venial sins are wiped clean, or Confession, where we leave behind our Mortal sins and polish away our venial sin habits, it is like making a Resolution:  I will reject the bad, and try harder to add good... 


Happy New Year!

"Miss" Joyce



Singing the 10 Commandments song is a quick easy way to remember your sins...as you are preparing for Penance...or if you "freeze" and forget your sins when you're in Confession...

Remember there is SO much more to the 10 Commandments--we'll learn about the fullness of them in the older grades...


Oh My God

Church on Sunday

Mom and Daddy

Do Not Murder

Love My Marriage

# 7, Do Not Steal

Do Not Lie

Don't Be Jealous of the Others

Or Their Stuff

But Always Love, Always Love

God is Love



Do you put God First in your life?

Or video games, or sports...?

Oh My God

Did you say "Oh My God" casually?  Does the God of the universe deserve his name to be in a sentence about a You-tube "Oh my God, that one was SO funny!"  

Church on Sunday

Ask to Go to Mass to be with Jesus.

If your family has a reason for not taking you, God knows kids can't drive--so when that happens, you should spend some special time with God on Sunday...ask to watch Mass online, and pray - talk to Jesus - He loves you!

Mom and Daddy

Did you respect and obey your parents? ...Always...?

Do Not Murder

Did you hurt peoples' feelings?  Were you mean to someone or something?

Love My Marriage

Did you respect marriage by respecting your parents' relationship?  Be patient when they are having a conversation, or need some privacy...

#7 Do Not Steal

Did you ever take something that didn't belong to you?  I hope not.

Do Not Lie

Did you ever say something that's not true? ....Even when you were asked if you did a chore...?

Don't Be Jealous of the Others

Have you ever been jealous of someone?

Or Their Stuff

Have you ever been jealous that someone has something and you don't...?

But Always Love

Always Love

Have you loved as much as you could?

God is Love!

And always remember--no matter WHAT you've done, God Loves You more than anyone!   


Everyone EVERYONE sins.  Penance helps us keep the sin weeds  out of our life garden.   

Keep praying to the Holy Spirit.  He'll help you to remember your sins, and urge you to go to Confession...and fill you with the Graces and Love you need to do better and better every day.

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7 Virtues that conquer Sins


Humbleness conquers Pride

Know God Loves You

I won't brag about what I did--Jesus (and my parents) know what I've done well...and that's enough...

Kindness conquers Envy

Be Kind - Don't be Jealous

I'll be happy for others instead of wishing for something I don't have--I will shine God's love instead of reflect my own wants...

Diligence conquers Sloth

Do your best

Before I'm asked, I'll clean up...


Temporance conquers Gluttony

Take Only What You Need

I want to take the last cupcake but I've had a few and will save the biggest for Daddy...

Chastity conquers Lust

Say no to Desire

I want to eat all the candy

But I should keep the body God gave me healthy...

Generosity conquers Greed

Be Giving

It's boring visiting my old Aunts house...but I love her and making her happy while I'm there-pleases God.

Patience conquers Anger

Deal with Badness With Love

I'll remember to put other's first - and cheer up grouchy people with a smile and being thoughtful.

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Every one receiving First Holy Communion

        will receive one of these books.

They're in the Confession Room.

Please take only one per child.


We've so far touched on:

--Getting a visual mental picture of Heaven/God/Catholicism/Trinity... 

--Why it's such a blessing to have the opportunity to participate in Penance & Communion

--The 10 Commandments 

--the 10 Commandments Song (which we'll sing most every class)

--The Act of Contrition Song (which we'll sing most every class)

--Remembering WHY you're coming to these classes...You love Jesus, Jesus Loves YOU!

Have a relationship with Him--you can know Him AND love Him!

--That you can pray to the Father, Son, Holy Spirit, Our Holy Mother, Saints, and Angels --

   formally like with the prayers we're learning, or conversationally...

--The Glory Be

--The Hail Mary

--The Our Father



In the last in-person class we covered that there'll be 5 special days on the Liturgical calendar before the next time we meet in church in-person:


1. CHRIST THE KING OF THE UNIVERSE is Sunday Nov 21st ...the church has been celebrating this since 1925 when the pope wanted to balance the growing secularism--People were forgetting the most important ruler of the world, Jesus Christ (not sports, TV or super-heroes...but Jesus Christ).  Some people celebrate with crown cupcakes, crown crafts etc... and it's a Day of Solemnity--so go to Mass.  See craft.


2. Nov 28th is the FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT which counts down the 27 days 'till Christmas (4 weeks).  On the Altar you'll start to see an Advent Wreath - one candle gets lit each week...Some homes make one too...see craft.  Advent is meant to be a slow realization/excitement/focus on Jesus and His upcoming birthday...  Remember that when you decorate and cook for the Christmas party, remember the most important part of the day--the birthday boy, Jesus.  


3. Monday December 6th is ST. NICHOLAS DAY.  The story of St. Nicholas - yes he lived--and has a very cool saint story - is relevant to this class because we should know why we celebrate Jesus' Birthday like we do...and we should notice that this December saint, who threw gifts down a chimney, tends to be thought of more often during Christmas time than Jesus--the actual present to all of us on Christmas.  Check out this page for a video on St. Nicholas, and see craft.


4.  Wednesday December 8th is a Holy Day of Obligation: THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF THE VIRGIN MARY.  Why are we required to go to church on a Wednesday?  Because God is all about respecting Mary! :)  The 4th Commandment is to respect your parents.  Jesus respects His mother--and so does the Church.  See craft.


5.  Thursday December 9th is the FEAST DAY OF ST. JUAN DIEGO - otherwise known as Our Lady of Guadalupe.  Roses in the snow - what!?  Video on this page and see craft. 


Practice the The Act of Contrition Song (above).


Perhaps tie your ADVENT into the fun tradition of a JESSE TREE (see the Faith-Family Fun Facts tab for examples).  A typical Jesse Tree is where you make and hang an ornament for each story from the bible that points to Jesus' lineage...27 ornaments from the Adam and Eve story to the Christmas Story.  But you guys must be thinking "I don't know 27 bible stories!"  But in the few classes we've had, you've learned way more than 27 facts about your faith... So I propose that their first Jesse Tree should be a "What I learned about my faith this year" Tree.  Check out this page tomorrow for the list of potential ornaments.  The Jesse Tree list on the Faith Family Fun Facts tab above is for those who've already learned more bible stories...but here are 48 choices for ornaments of things we've covered in THIS class so far:


The Trinity/God is Love

God Loves You!

God made the Universe - Space - The World - You - ...everything

The Liturgical Calendar

Prayer - ways to talk to your best friend who loves you

The Rosary

The 10 Commandments Song ending in "But Always Love/God is love"

       (12 ornaments)

The Act of Contrition

What is Baptism

What is First Holy Communion

The 7 Virtues/Vices (7 ornaments)

Mortal/venial Sin

The Rosary Mysteries we learned in in-church class (5 ornaments)

The Miracles of Jesus that we learned at the last in-church class

        (9 ornaments)

Christ the King Day


St. Nicholas Day

The Immaculate Conception

Our Lady of Guadalupe


We cover a lot, but class by class we repeat and repeat until they learn it all like a song (in addition to the two songs :)).  Each child tends to internalize at their own pace--the most important thing to remember is how much God

loves them, and that all the faith-facts will come to them in time, throughout

the years.  This year is all about getting them excited about the Catholic Faith and meeting Jesus who "did all that wonderful stuff", along with beginning basic habits of realizing one's sins, the power of prayer and Confession and Mass.  Subsequent years are for cementing the details of the facts - so no stress.


See you in Zoom class,

"Miss" Joyce


--Practice memorizing:

   the Our Father

   the Hail Mary

   the Glory Be

   the Act of Contrition (practice using the song from class - it's on this page),

  & the 10 Commandments song from class - it's on this page.

--Pray - yourself and with family or friends. 


--Go to Mass.

--Come to Class each week.

--Do the crafts.  Crafts help to cement the lesson.




--Go to Daily Mass when you can

--Enjoy exploring the Family Faith Fun Facts tab on this site

--Come to Faith Family Fun Facts Zooms (first one is tomorrow-Monday night)

--Read the New Catholic Picture Bible (see below)

--Find some good Catholic books to read (see the above tab for parent resources).

I would suggest you purchase the book: New Catholic Picture Bible by Lovasik

I will be referring to this throughout class, and find it an invaluable tool that grows with children through about 6th grade...

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Feast Day of St. Juan Diego craft.

For this Roses in the Snow Craft,

glue the rose-patterned ribbon to

St. Juan Diego.  Paste and draw

roses all at his feet. 

Check out this ideo for the story:  


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For the Jesse Tree Ornament Craft, Cut out the red circle, glue it to the wood ornament.  Rip or cut some of the cotton ball off to use as a beard for St. Nicholas -- glue it on his face.  Glue the strip of smoke coming out of the chimney, glue on St. Nick's crozier.  Then consider making other ornaments of the things you know about our beautiful Catholic faith!  See the Faith Family Fun Facts tab above for more Jesse Tree ideas...

Google more ideas...Catholic Icing and Catholic Toolbox are some of my favorite blogs for craft ideas...

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For the Christ The King of the

Universe Craft, Color in Christ

the King.  Use the Gold Stick

to make a crown that you glue

to Jesus' precious head.  As

you glue, think of the Crown

of Thorns he wore on the cross.   

Gold or Thorny, Christ is still King!!




Jesus' First Miracle was turning the stinky feet water into the best wine...

Color and cut out the jugs--then glue them to the white paper that says Water to Wine...

(remember to put the water one on top!)  Then share what you learned with others:  water...wine    water...wine



Peter - the Apostle that Jesus put in charge (the first Pope), 

was grumpy about not catching fish all day.  Jesus gave him a miracle--

He told Peter to go out on the water and once more, cast his net into the sea.  

Peter did--and he caught SO many fish he could barely get the boat to shore! 

Jesus asked Peter if he would leave being a fisherman, and become an Apostle--

basically walking around telling people about God.  Peter saw the miracle of the fish--

believed in Jesus--and followed Jesus around from that day on...

This craft has goldfish to glue to the picture...DONT EAT THEM :) !  

Use a tissue for the sail.  Glue it to the blue paper...



The apostles didn't want to wake up Jesus--but they 

were afraid the boat would sink from the storm!

When Jesus awoke He stood up, put out his hand, 

and commanded the bad weather to stop.  Truly a miracle!


Cut the straw to use as the mast- and a tissue for the sail...

Glue strips to the blue paper...



That little boy's lunch fed thousands of people thanks to Jesus' Miracle!

Cut one paper plate in half.  Glue, staple (or sew) the half plate to the 

whole plate--now you have a basket.  Fill it with the loaves and the fishes.  

If a few thousand friends stop by, you can rip your craft into 

bite size pieces so they all can enjoy your art :) ...pretend eating only please!


These books by Vinny Flynn really bring it all home. 

These tiny conversational chapters--and hearing him speak in Torrington--

changed the way I go to Mass.  Read bits and parts to the kids:

Kids understand more than we often give them credit for!

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