Confession / Penance

The Sacrament of Confession or the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

The Sacrament of Confession is also called the Sacrament of Penance and
Reconciliation.  We use these names to describe the different aspects of this sacrament
because it does not only involve confessing our sins and receiving forgiveness.

It is called the Sacrament of Penance to describe the restoration of our hearts through
the expression of our sorrow and cooperation in our healing. 

It is also called the Sacrament of Reconciliation because it not only restores our
relationship as sons and daughters of God, it also reconciles us with one another
restoring our union with the Body of Christ, his Church.  So, in addition to the
forgiveness of sins, the penitent, through the priest, is reconciled to the Church itself.

Even after we have received the great gift of salvation in the Sacrament of Baptism we
still struggle with sin in our lives. Due to this fact of Christian life we find great comfort in
the Sacrament of Confession because we have an opportunity to be forgiven from the
sins we commit after we are baptized.

Like all of the Sacraments it is a personal encounter with Jesus.  In Confession we are
telling our sins to the priest who acts in the person of Christ and with the authority of
Jesus to listen, offer guidance, provide a suitable penance, and speak the words of
absolution. 

Not only does it [the Sacrament of Penance] free us from our sins but it also challenges
us to have the same kind of compassion and forgiveness for those who sin against us. 
We are liberated to be forgivers.  We obtain new insight into the words of the Prayer of
St. Francis: "It is in pardoning that we are pardoned." 

Jesus entrusted the ministry of reconciliation to the Church.  The Sacrament of Penance
is God's gift to us so that any sin committed after Baptism can be forgiven.  In
confession we have the opportunity to repent and recover the grace of friendship with
God. It is a holy moment in which we place ourselves in his presence and honestly
acknowledge our sins, especially mortal sins.  With absolution, we are reconciled to
God and the Church. The Sacrament helps us stay close to the truth that we cannot live
without God. "In him we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28).  
Confessions are heard on Saturday at 3:30 PM
 
Ten Steps for Celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation

1. Examination of Conscience
We examine our conscience to find out how we have loved God and others,
and how we have failed to love God and others. We do this:
 On our own in personal prayer
 At Liturgy, during the penitential rite (Lord, Have Mercy)
 At prayer services prior to reconciliation
We admit our own responsibility in our failings so we can ask for
forgiveness and make better choices in the future.
 
2. We Approach the Priest:
The priest will say,
“In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
We make the sign of the cross while he says this.

3. We Begin:
“Bless me, Father, for I have sinned.”
Then say, “It has been ______ since my last confession.”

4. We Continue:
“These are my sins: ___________”
We tell the priest those we remember from our Examination of Conscience, or
others that we need to tell.

5. After telling the priest our sins, we say:
“I am sorry for these and for all of my sins.”
The priest will say a few words to us. We listen to him.

6. The priest will give us a penance.
 
7. The priest. may then ask us to say an Act of Contrition.
 
8. Then the priest will give us the Lord’s forgiveness, which is called absolution.
We make the sign of the cross and say, “Amen.”

9. The priest dismisses us, often with a handshake or other sign of peace.
We say, “Thank you, Father.”
Then you leave.

10. We do the penance the priest assigned and thank God for His mercy and the
strength we have received in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.