Weekly Reconciliation Hours
The Sacrament of Reconciliation, sometimes also called the Sacrament of Penance or Confession, is the Church’s sacrament of forgiveness and restoration. A Catholic acknowledges that although Jesus Christ has, through the sacrament of Baptism, established communion between the Christian and God, we Christians often do damage to that unity by acts of selfishness, namely our sins. Because God gives us freedom, we are able to turn away from him. We may return to God by contrition (regret for our sinful choices) and by conversion (return to doing what is good), but reconciliation with God requires an additional act on his part: not only must we repent, but he must forgive. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is the sacramental means by which God extends the grace of his forgiveness to the sinner.
Catholics are obliged to confess mortal sins (the very serious faults that a Christian knows are serious, and that he knows he has done freely, without compulsion). Venial sins (less serious failings, or ones that a Christian has committed without knowledge or freedom) a Catholic is not obliged to confess, though the confession of venial sins is encouraged, on the principle that small faults may become graver if they are not acknowledged.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation is available in the Reconciliation Room near the front door of the church, Fridays from 2 to 2:45pm, and Saturdays from 3 to 3:45pm. To make an appointment to celebrate the sacrament at another time, please contact Fr Michael or Fr Kelly through the parish office.
For those who have not been to the Sacrament of Reconciliation in some time, this is what to expect.
- On entering the confessional, you may choose either to kneel behind the screen or sit on the chair before the priest.
- The priest will begin by making the sign of the cross with the words, “In the name of the Father…”
- At this time, you may tell the priest your sins. Everything you say is under the “seal of confession” and the priest is not permitted afterwards speak of what you have told him.
- Please end with words like, “For these and all the sins of my life I am sorry.” Then the priest will know you are finished.
- The priest will perhaps give you some encouragement or advice, as well as a penance, a task to help you in your effort at conversion.
- He will then ask you to make an Act of Contrition, a prayer to God expressing your genuine regret for your sins and your intention to start afresh. One such ‘act’ is printed on a card in the confessional. An easy one you might memorize is, “Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
- The priest will then pray over you the Formula of Absolution, an expression of God’s forgiveness. He will then invite you to Go in peace.