This sacrament has several names: Penance, Reconciliation, Confession, Conversion and Forgiveness. Jesus Christ calls us to constant conversion and new life in his Church. Even after Baptism, we may give in to human weakness and commit serious or lesser sins. The Lord instituted the Sacrament of Penance to help us on the way of life with the gift of his Holy Spirit to the Apostles: “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 20:22-23). Christ’s work of mercy and forgiveness continues in the Church through the ministry of the bishops as the successors of the Apostles and through their co-workers, the priests.
Every Confession is an encounter with Christ for us to find forgiveness and reconciliation with God, with the Church and with each other. We experience God’s grace and love granting us peace of mind, a clean conscience, renewal of spirit and strength for the struggles of Christian living. Priests and bishops are bound to secrecy by the “sacramental seal” of Confession.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation is celebrated weekly each Saturday afternoon between 12:30 and 1:30pm. There are also two communal celebrations scheduled during Advent and Lent. Preparation for Reconciliation begins in first grade. The actual celebration of First Reconciliation is in early February for second grade. These are children who are preparing for First Communion. Parents assist in the preparation of their children for this sacrament and are expected to attend those meetings that will support their efforts.