Lenten Reconciliation Services
Monday, March 30, 7:00pm at Holy Cross
Tuesday, March 31, 7:00pm at St. Patrick
Wednesday, April 1, 7:00pm at Church of St. Mary
The Sacrament of Reconciliation is available each week on Saturdays from 4:15pm - 4:45pm in the Main Church or by request.
Sometimes on our journey toward heaven we stumble and fall into sin. God is always ready to lift us up and to restore us to a grace-filled relationship with him. He does this through the Sacrament of Reconciliation (which is also known as confession or penance, each term emphasizing a different element of the sacrament).
Catholics believe that all of the sacraments were instituted by Jesus Christ himself. In the case of Confession, that institution occurred on Easter Sunday, when Christ first appeared to the apostles after his Resurrection. Breathing on them, he said: “Receive the Holy Spirit. For those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven; for those whose sins you retain, they are retained” (John 20:22-23).
Catholics also believe that the sacraments are an outward sign of an inward grace. In this case, the outward sign is the absolution, or forgiveness of sins, that the priest grants to the penitent (the person confessing his sins); the inward grace is the reconciliation of the penitent to God.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church refers to the Sacrament of Reconciliation as the Sacrament of Penance. Penance expresses the proper attitude with which we should approach the sacrament—with sorrow for our sins, a desire to atone for them, and a firm resolve not to commit them again.
The purpose of Confession is to reconcile man to God. When we sin, we deprive ourselves of God’s grace. And by doing so, we make it even easier to sin some more. The only way out of this downward cycle is to acknowledge our sins, to repent of them, and to ask God’s forgiveness. Then, in the Sacrament of Confession, grace can be restored to our souls, and we can once again resist sin.
Non-Catholics, and even many Catholics, often ask whether they can confess their sins directly to God, and whether God can forgive them without going through a priest. On the most basic level, of course, the answer is yes, and Catholics should make frequent acts of contrition, which are prayers in which we tell God that we are sorry for our sins and ask for His forgiveness.
What Is Required?
Three things are required of a penitent in order to receive the sacrament worthily:
He must be contrite—or, in other words, sorry for his sins.
He must confess those sins fully, in kind and in number.
He must be willing to do penance and make amends for his sins.
While these are the minimum requirements, here are Seven Steps to Making a Better Confession.
How Often Should You Go to Confession? While Catholics are only required to go to Confession when they are aware that they have committed a mortal sin, the Church urges the faithful to take advantage of the sacrament often. A good rule of thumb is to go once per month. The Church especially urges the faithful to receive the Sacrament of Confession frequently during Lent, to help them in their spiritual preparation for Easter.
Our children first receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation as part of our Religious Education Program.