Tuesday, August 21, 2012

DVD Review: Brother Francis Forgiven!

For the past two months the latest Brother Francis episode entitled Forgiven! has been a heavily requested DVD in our house.  Forgiven! teaches young children about the sacrament of reconciliation.  As with other Brother Francis episodes, this episode beautifully explains the sacrament of reconciliation in a way that is easily understood by children and will reach them.

As with the other episodes of Brother Francis, this DVD contains two catchy songs.  The first song is called God is a Loving Father and teaches children that God wants to help us.  The song is accompanied by a fun little cartoon of children playing on a swing set.  My seven year old really enjoys this song and the cartoon.  The other song is called "Praise God, I'm Forgiven!"  It's an upbeat song celebrating the sacrament of reconciliation.  The visual accompaniment for this song is scenes of the sacrament and the children and Brother Francis joyfully singing about how happy they are to have received God's forgiveness.  This particular song is probably my favorite part of the episode, but that probably has something to do with the song getting stuck in my head.

Just like the other Brother Francis DVDs, the show flips between standard animation and CGI.  I like how they use both of the mediums because I think it adds interest to the way the show is presented. 

Brother Francis gently teaches children about sin, conscience, and what exactly the sacrament of confession is and why we need it.  His approach is such that children should come away with a good understanding of the ways in which we can sin (thought, word, deed and omission), why we should listen to our conscience, and how we can obtain God's pardon when we fail to do what we should by going to confession.

I was really happy to see the Parable of the Tax Collector in this episode.  I like that it shows children that they should approach the sacrament with a humble heart and not an inflated ego.

Brother Francis also tells children how to prepare for confession, gives them the steps for the sacrament and explains what a penance is.  I think children who are nervous about their first reconciliation that watch this episode of Brother Francis will feel a lot less anxious about this sacrament after watching this.  My seven year old who will make her first confession in six months is finding herself more at ease with the idea of going to confession the more she watches this DVD.  Hopefully by the time the date of her first reconciliation rolls around she will feel very comfortable with this sacrament.

Brother Francis easily captures the attention of children from preschool age up to about age nine.  Our ten month old will happily sit and watch an episode of Brother Francis with her big sisters.  The show appears the have the biggest appeal with our middle daughter who is now seven.  She's been hooked on Brother Francis since she was five, and is always asking if there are any new Brother Francis DVDs out yet.  

I heartily recommend this episode of Brother Francis for anyone who is preparing a child for first reconciliation.  This DVD would be perfect for religious education classes, too.  I have shown other episodes of this series to my kindergarten religious education students and they have all been well received.

I was provided with a review copy of Brother Francis: Forgiven! by the publisher, Herald Kids, in exchange for my honest review.  Visit www.brotherfrancisonline.com for more information on the Brother Francis series.


  1. Karen, how does one go about signing up for the blog-review program for these DVDs? We were given Let's Pray as a gift and my three-year-old LOVES it! I would love to be able to review some on my blog.

    By the way, I stumbled upon your St. Patrick's Day craft thru a google search and did that with my kids here a couple weeks ago. Thanks!!

    1. Monica, I'm not sure if a review program for the Brother Francis DVDs exists. I was contacted by the publisher and asked if I would be interested in reviewing it.

      Let's Pray is one of our favorite Brother Francis episodes.

  2. Oh, OK, thanks!! I looked for your email and couldn't find it (I don't use outlook, and it just kept pulling up my outlook). I think I've stumbled upon your blog before with Small Successes.

    Glad there are others who enjoy Brother Francis, I may just have to buy another one. I think they are really well done.



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