This year, I have two daughters receiving sacraments: Jade (age 7) will do her First Confession and First Holy Communion, and Sunshine (age 12) will receive Confirmation. I’m excited for them to receive these graces and grow in the faith. At the same time, it’s been an up and down year in which Mass has been suspended regularly and our parish religious education program has also been paused at times. I’ve been looking for other resources to help fill in my daughters’ learning as they journey towards these sacraments, and I found Brother Francis TV.
Brother Francis is a Franciscan friar who teaches kids about the Catholic faith through fun stories. You can stream Brother Francis TV shows online or get accompanying books and colouring books for your kids. There are also fun posters, prayer cards and other resources to support your child’s faith! We recently watched two Brother Francis TV shows, Forgiven and Confirmation, to learn more about the sacraments Jade and Sunshine will soon receive.
I received compensation for this post; all opinions expressed are my own.
Forgiven: The Blessings of Confession
The idea of telling someone else all the bad things you’ve done is daunting, whether you’re 7 or 23. I keep telling Jade she’s got it easier than I did, because she’s doing her First Confession when she’s much younger than I was when I did mine, and thus she’s got a lot less to say to the priest. Despite that, this is one of my favourite sacraments, and I really want Jade to understand its power (and not be scared of talking to the priest).
Brother Francis walks kids through everything they need to know about the Sacrament of Reconciliation in this 26-minute episode. Using music, Bible stories, and other allegories, he helps explain to kids what forgiveness is and why confession is so important. He also talks about the sacrament itself, telling kids exactly what they will do and say and how the priest will respond.
Brother Francis retells Jesus’ parable of the Tax Collector, explaining what this teaches us about repentance. He explains about how we can sin by things we’ve done and things we haven’t done but should have. “I’m Loved by a Loving Father” is an upbeat, moving song about how God loves us and wants to help us. “Praise God, I’m Forgiven!” is a fast-paced song that celebrates the gift of God’s mercy and forgiveness. There are also short stories about kids who do something wrong and then need to confess and do penance for that.
I was impressed at how much fun instruction was packed into 26 minutes. Brother Francis TV uses songs, Bible verses, parables, stories and more to explain this sacrament to kids. The lessons he teaches are thorough, but also easy for kids to understand. We’ll definitely be watching this again as Jade approaches her First Confession in a few months. I’m sure it’s going to help her feel less intimidated about it. Forgiven was also a good reminder for the rest of us to go to confession regularly!
Confirmation: The Blessings of Belonging to God
Although I’ve been confirmed twice, I still find it rather hard to explain what this sacrament is about. As Sunshine talks about getting confirmed this year, her younger sisters have asked her what that means. Thanks to Brother Francis TV, now we know!
This episode started with the parable of the Good Shepherd, illustrating how the sheep know their shepherd’s voice and respond to him. Brother Francis uses that to explain that we are God’s children and belong to Him. He also talks about the day Jesus was baptized and how Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to the Early Church on Pentecost. Just as Brother Francis walked kids through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, he also walks them through the Sacrament of Confession and what happens at the church on this day.
My thoughts on Brother Francis TV
Although these shows are geared to kids ages 3 to 8, even Sunshine sat down to watch Confirmation with us (without me asking her). The animation is fast-paced and engaging, and Brother Francis moves quickly from Bible verse to explanation to story to song and back again. As I mentioned, while the lessons in these shows are understandable for younger kids, they are also interesting to older kids. I learned more about these sacraments along with the girls.
(Joey and Pearl, ages 3 and 5, just saw me writing this review and exclaimed, “I want to watch that movie!” It’s always a win in my book when they are excited to learn more about their faith!)
Brother Francis TV also has episodes about the other sacraments as well as the saints, the rosary, Christmas, Easter, and more. You can stream your favourite episodes for as little as $4 an episode or grab a 16-episode bundle if your kids like Brother Francis as much as mine do. Several Brother Francis episodes are also available on Formed.org, if your parish or school has a subscription. And if your kids like Brother Francis, they may also like Carlos Caterpillar, from the same company.
Have your kids watched Brother Francis TV or ready any Brother Francis books? Which is your favourite?