The Sacrament of Penance, also known as Reconciliation or Confession, is that moment of grace whereby one receives the forgiveness for sin won by Jesus Christ on the cross. This sacrament is celebrated to renew the life of grace begun in baptism. Those who follow Christ are called to live lives free of sin. For every Christian the goal is to enter the heavenly paradise, but as the scriptures relate “nothing unclean will enter it.” (Rev. 21:27) Therefore, this sacrament provides the forgiveness of Christ and a remedy for sin. All Catholics are urged to celebrate this sacrament whenever they are conscious of serious sin.
Examination of Conscience
The Sacrament of Reconciliation begins with an Examination of Conscience in which we ask the Holy Spirit to help us think about how we are doing with following God’s will. Next, we confess our sins to God by telling them to the priest in private. It is important to make sure that we confess all sins, especially mortal sins to the priest. A mortal sin is when what we do is seriously wrong, we know that it is wrong and that it is forbidden by God, we freely choose to do it. Other less serious sins are called venial sins in which we do not completely turn away from God’s love but they still weaken our relationship with God and they ourselves, others and the Church.
The priest will advise us on how to live each day as Jesus wants us to. The priest will never tell anyone what he hears in confession.
We follow this with an Act of Contrition to tell God we are sorry for our sins and that we will try harder to avoid sin, follow the will of God and to love others as God teaches us. Our penance can be a prayer or a good deed that the priest tells us to do to make up for the hurt caused by our sins. We do the penance the priest gives us to show God that we are sincere in our repentance and that we want to change. Doing penance helps us avoid sin and grow closer to God.
Absolution is the priest’s giving us God’s forgiveness, by the power f the Holy Spirit. He makes the sign of the cross over us and says in part, “Through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” We respond, “Amen”.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation is offered on Saturdays from 3:30 – 4:10 p.m. It is recommended that penitents arrive at the beginning of the time periods to ensure adequate opportunity to receive the sacrament. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is also available by private appointment with the priest. If you would like assistance in gaining peace and healing in your relationships with God and His Church, please contact the Parish Office and ask for a priest.