The Sacrament of Reconciliation (also known as Confession and Penance) is offered on Saturdays from 3:30 – 4:45pm, or any time by appointment with the priest.
“May God give you pardon and peace.”
According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church (see paragraphs 1455-1470), since Christ entrusted to his apostles the ministry of reconciliation (see Matthew 16:18-19, 18:18; John 20:21-23), bishops who are their successors, and priests, continue to exercise this ministry. Indeed bishops and priests, by virtue of the sacrament of Holy Orders, have the power to forgive all sins “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. When he celebrates the sacrament of Penance, the priest is fulfilling the ministry of the Good Shepherd who seeks the lost sheep, of the Good Samaritan who binds up wounds, of the Father who awaits the prodigal son and welcomes him on his return, and of the just and impartial judge whose judgment is both just and merciful.
The priest is the sign and the instrument of God’s merciful love for the sinner. The confessor is not the master of God’s forgiveness, but its servant. Given the delicacy and greatness of this ministry and the respect due to persons, the Church declares that every priest who hears confessions is bound under very severe penalties to keep absolute secrecy regarding the sins that his penitents have confessed to him.
Forgiveness of sins brings reconciliation with God, but also with the Church. In this sacrament, the sinner, placing himself before the merciful judgment of God, anticipates in a certain way the judgment to which he will be subjected at the end of his earthly life. For it is now, in this life, that we are offered the choice between life and death, and it is only by the road of conversion that we can enter the Kingdom, from which one is excluded by grave sin. In converting to Christ through penance and faith, the sinner passes from death to life and “does not come into judgment.”
After having attained the age of discretion, each of the faithful is bound by an obligation faithfully to confess serious sins at least once a year. Anyone who is aware of having committed a mortal sin must not receive Holy Communion, even if he experiences deep contrition, without having first received sacramental absolution, unless he has a grave reason for receiving Communion and there is no possibility of going to confession. He must then still receive sacramental absolution as soon as possible.
Preparation normally begins in the 2nd grade. The process involves regular attendance of religion class (Parish or School) and attendance of a parent/child retreat. First Reconciliation usually occurs in early December. For more information, contact Betsy Koval, Director of Faith Formation.