“Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. 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
The sacrament of Reconciliation is also known as the sacrament of Penance or Confession.
In this sacrament, the penitent confesses their sins to the priest in the reconciliation room or confessional. The priest then gives absolution to the repentant soul, making the Sign of the Cross, and saying the words “I absolve you from your sins, in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”. It is God, through the priest, who forgives someone’s sins. As the penitent must make restitution or satisfaction for his sins, the priest gives a penance to the forgiven one – usually prayer, fasting, or almsgiving.
Confession gives one a wonderful sense of freedom and peace from the burden of sin. Sorrow, affliction and a desire for conversion follow the remorse of sin in those with a contrite heart. The experience also brings a sense of gratitude to our generous Lord for his love, compassion and mercy.
Reconciliation is available at St Mary’s by appointment or on Saturdays from 9.30am (Rite I).
At St Mary’s, there are two programmes of preparation for the sacrament of Reconciliation, depending on whether the sacrament is being received by a child or an adult.
For children, the sacrament is usually celebrated towards the end of the year during Advent. Diocesan policy requires children to receive the sacrament of Reconciliation before being confirmed or receiving First Communion. Parents will need to enrol their child in the Sacramental Programme for Children. Please keep an eye on the notices in the Sunday newsletter for details nearer the time.
Contact the parish office for further information.
For adults, receiving the sacrament of Reconciliation is part of their RCIA (Becoming Catholic) journey.