In her wisdom, the Church provides a sacramental opportunity for us to acknowledge our weakness, our tendency toward sinfulness. Reconciliation (penance, confession) enables us to reconcile with our loving God. Most children prepare for Reconciliation during their second grade year, and are invited to participate in the celebration of the sacrament during the parish Advent penitential services. Like First Eucharist, the process of preparation is family-centered and coordinated by the Christian Formation Office.
All members of the faith community should receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation on a regular basis. Opportunity for private reconciliation is available weekly; communal penance services take place during Advent and Lent. In urgent circumstances, parishioners can make arrangements with a priest to receive private Reconciliation by appointment.
First Reconciliation- Christian Formation
Information and Schedules
Examination of Conscience
Before celebrating the Sacrament of Penance, one should prepare themselves with an examination of conscience.
Resources for this examination, suitable for various age or demographic groups is available at the USCCB website HERE
Making your Confession
Good confessions are honest, clear, direct, and concise. Devout and regular penitents sometimes succumb to the temptation to do the work of both the priest and the penitent within the confessional. Occasionally regular penitents will confess a particular sin and then provide their own spiritual analysis of the action’s sinfulness. At other times devout penitents will confess a sin and then proceed to offer an extended narrative or backstory about nonessential matters surrounding the sin. More often than not, neither of these two approaches is necessary. While some details are essential to identifying a particular kind of sin, we need only recount those elements that pertain directly to the sins we are confessing. It is the job of the priest to understand and evaluate the nature and gravity of the sins we bring to the confessional. The penitent should trust that the priest will ask for clarification if anything remains unclear. We should always remember that it is Jesus who forgives our sins. The priest serves as the living instrument of Christ’s healing (CCC 1465). Thus, we should approach the Sacrament of Reconciliation with an honest simplicity that fully trusts in God’s loving mercy.
By Fr. Cajetan Cuddy, O.P.
From the MAGNIFICAT
Year of Mercy Companion.
© MAGNIFICAT – Used with permission.