SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION

In the sacrament of Penance the faithful who confess their sins to a legitimate minister, and are sorry for them, and intend to reform themselves obtain from God through the absolution imparted by the same minister forgiveness for the sins they have committed after Baptism and, at the same time, are reconciled with the Church which they have wounded by sinning. (CIC 959)

Father hears Confessions on Saturdays from 3:00pm until 3:50pm, Mondays and Fridays from 5:00pm to 5:30pm. He will also do so upon request or by appointment. If calling for an appointment, please specify whether you wish to preserve your own anonymity, which Confession always permits; Father can wait in the Confessional at the scheduled time.

When Christ's faithful strive to confess all the sins that they can remember, they undoubtedly place all of them before the Divine Mercy for pardon. But those who fail to do so and knowingly withhold some, place nothing before the divine goodness for emission through the mediation of the priest, "for if the sick person is too ashamed to show his wound to the doctor, the medicine cannot heal what it does not know.” (Council of Trent, quoting St. Jerome, cited in CCC 1456)

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Why have such a sacrament? “The new life received in Christian initiation has not abolished the frailty and weakness of human nature, nor the inclination to sin that tradition calls concupiscence, which remains in the baptized such that with the help of the grace of Christ they may prove themselves in the struggle of Christian life” (CCC 1426). In other words, a virtuous post-baptismal life is not an easy thing, and will require ongoing help to be lived well.

Baptism is the first moment of our conversion. We might tend to think of “conversion” as something we must do consciously, but not so at the outset; Jesus said, “It is not you who chose me, but I who have chosen you to go forth and bear fruit that will last” (Jn 15:16). But Christian maturity entails our intentional cooperation in that first choice. Confession helps us to evaluate and redirect ourselves in the light of faith and under the impulse of faith.

There are several constitutive elements to the sacrament, from the penitent’s point of view:
•   Examination of Conscience: honest, fearless, and thorough, based on Church teaching
•   Contrition: Imperfect (“I fear punishment”) will do, but perfect (“I love God”) is best
•   Confession: Complete, with a reasonable effort, and accounting for circumstances
•   Satisfaction: Offering the token penance by which we participate in our own restoration

 “I don’t have to go to a priest; I can confess directly to God.” Who are you to say? In His diverse healings Jesus Himself forgave sins with divine authority. On the night of His resurrection He entrusted this authority to the disciples/apostles gathered with Him: “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them; whose sins you retain are retained” (Jn 20:21-23). He wouldn’t have given authority to forgive sins unless He expected people to seek forgiveness from God through His appointed emissaries.

And these ordained men are acting on the Church’s behalf. That means: Through the private, sacredly-sealed celebration of the Sacrament of Penance, you and I “outsiders” are recipients of contrition and granters of mercy in communion with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, even as we offer contrition and receive mercy in our turn. Whether or not we were directly involved in another’s sins, or even knew anything about them, we are all part of the sinful human condition that the Lord Jesus is healing by way of this holy mystery.

Here is a link to an Examination of Conscience pamphlet that will help you to prepare and celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation.


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