The Sacrament of Penance is an experience of the gift of God’s boundless mercy. Not only does it 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 from ourselves to be ‘forgivers’ of those who have offended us, and to acknowledge and release our own souls from wrongs committed, things we should have done, and/or things that we could have done with a joyful heart. We obtain new insight into the words of the Prayer of St. Francis: “It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.”
In the Sacrament of Penance, the Faithful obtain from God His mercy and pardon for having offended Him, and at the same time, Reconciliation with the Church which they also have wounded and by which charity, example, and prayer, they can seek conversion. (Rite of Penance #4).
What is the Sacrament of Penance/Reconciliation?
The Sacrament of Penance is the means by which God forgives sins after baptism is confession: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). God had sent Jesus to forgive sins. After Jesus had been resurrected, Jesus told the apostles, “‘As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.’ And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained’” (John 20:21–23). This sacrament, also known as Reconciliation or Confession, should be received at least once a year, but more so as soon as possible. We celebrate the compassionate forgiveness of our loving God with song and prayer, concluding with an opportunity for individual reconciliation with a priest.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation is offered every Saturday from 2:45pm to 3:45pm and after the 6 pm Wednesday Mass in the church. We also celebrate communal Penance Services during the Advent and Lenten seasons.
Families with children preparing for First Reconciliation must register and participate in Faith Formation either at our parish or through a Catholic school. It is a Diocesan Policy that sacramental programs be a two year process and all children are required to receive First Reconciliation before First Communion. In addition and immediately prior to reception of this Sacrament, the child and parent must attend sessions to prepare them for specifically for the reception of this Sacrament.
For more information, please call the Faith Formation Director at (727) 541-4447.