The Sacrament of Penance

The Sacrament of Penance, also know as Confession or the Rite of Reconciliation, is the “liturgical celebration of God’s forgiveness of the sins of the penitent, who is thus reconciled with God and with the Church. The acts of the penitent-contrition, the confession of sins, and satisfaction or reparation-together with the prayer of absolution by the priest, constitute the essential elements of the Sacrament of Penance.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 980, 1422, 1440, 1448).

The Sacrament of Penance is available each week on Friday evening during the Holy Hour held at Sacred Heart. Several times during the year, usually during Advent and Lent we have special evening Reconciliation Services in which many Priests will be available in neighbouring parishes. The dates of these events are well publicized in the bulletin.

confessionThe Pastor is also available at any time, by making an appointment with him.

On the Day of His Resurrection, the Lord Jesus breathed on the Apostles, giving them the gift of the Holy Spirit, and proclaimed: “If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained” (John 20:23). This gift of grace to the Apostles allows mortal, sinful men to act as God’s instruments in the forgiveness of all sins committed after Baptism, and this sacred power is exercised by Bishops and Priests in the Sacrament of Penance when they hear the confession of sins and pronounce absolution for the remission of sins by the precious Blood of Jesus Christ.

The Sacrament of Penance is a sacred mystery of conversion from sin, confession of guilt, forgiveness of the wrong done, and reconciliation with Christ and His Church. All Catholics over the age of reason should come to the Sacrament of Penance at least once each year, especially during Lent or Easter time, and as often as necessary when conscious of serious sin, and anyone conscious of grave sin should not receive Holy Communion before being reconciled to God by sacramental confession and absolution.

If you are preparing to receive the sacrament, or unsure of how to go to confession, you may find these guides helpful:

You may also find it helpful to refer to this article that appeared in the Catholic Register.

Just come. Don’t prepare. We’ll do it in there. I’ll help you with this. At the end of it, you’re going to think about things we didn’t cover. You can come again,” said Msgr. Richard Lavalley, pastor of St. Francis Xavier parish in Winooski, Vt. “The more complicated it becomes, the worse it becomes. They (penitents) don’t know what to make of it and they become ashamed.” (Catholic Register, 17 February 2013)

Here are some other resources for you: