(Note: The Sacrament of Reconciliation is sometimes called Confession or Penance.)
There are four steps in the Sacrament of Reconciliation:
- We feel contrition for our sins and a conversion of heart to change our ways.
- We confess our sins to a priest.
- We receive and accept forgiveness (absolution) and are absolved of our sins.
- We celebrate God’s love for us and commit to living a Christian life.
Everyone sins. Everyone fails to live a holy and perfect life. The Sacrament of Reconciliation cleanses us from sin so we can be one with God again.
Sin hurts our relationship with God, ourselves, and others. As the Catechism states,
"The sinner wounds God’s honor and love, his own human dignity…and the spiritual well-being of the Church" (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1487).
Through His death and resurrection, Jesus gave the Church the Sacrament of Reconciliation to reconcile us to God and to our family of faith.
"The Lord never tires of forgiving. It is we who tire of asking for forgiveness" (Pope Francis).
No matter what we've done, God's love and mercy is always available to us through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Frequently Asked Questions
What if I've been away from the the Sacrament of Reconciliation for a long time?
Please know that you are always welcome back. While you are welcome to come to our regular Reconciliation times, it is often easiest to set up an appointment if you've been away for awhile.
What if I don't know what to do or say?
This is actually pretty common. If you received your First Reconciliation when you were young, you may remember that there is a standard format, and you may have forgotten how to follow that format. Just let the priest know and he'll guide you through the process.
What do I do if I'm not sure God will forgive me?
Forgiveness is central to the mission and message of Jesus Christ. God is able to forgive us even before we've been able to forgive ourselves.
How should I prepare for the Sacrament of Reconciliation?
Sometimes we know what we need to confess. Other times we're unclear, or we stay on the surface without going deeper. There is a form of prayer known as an Examination of Conscience that can help us prepare to make a good Confession. You'll find several different Examinations on the USCCB website.
How often should I go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation?
The Church asks us to go at least once a year, but more frequently is usually better. Use your best judgment. If you are wrestling with something specific, then going more frequently would be helpful. Basically, if it's helping, keep up the pace. If you find yourself frustrated because you don't have much to say, then you may be going more than necessary or need to focus on preparing better. Push yourself a little, though, because it often feels easier not to go than to go.
Contact a parish priest
The Sacrament of Reconciliation is offered every Saturday at 3:30 PM in the church, or by appointment. Additional Reconciliation services are held during Advent and Lent.
For First Reconciliation
Sacramental preparation through our Children's Faith Formation program is a two-year process that prepares students for both First Reconciliation and First Communion.
Act of Contrition
My God, I am sorry for my sins
with all my heart.
In choosing to do wrong
and failing to do good,
I have sinned against You
whom I should love above all things.
I firmly intend, with Your help,
to do penance, to sin no more,
and to avoid whatever leads me to sin.
Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered
and died for us.
In His name, my God, have mercy.