“Even now, says the Lord, return to me with your whole heart …” (Joel 2:12). This Scripture begins the first reading on Ash Wednesday, and sets the tone for the entire season of Lent. To reconcile with God is the reason for the sacrament of reconciliation.
Be confident that you can receive God’s mercy! So many people desire the healing love of the Father but don’t think they are worthy to receive it or don’t know where to find it. Jesus Christ promises us, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find” (Matthew 7:7). Trusting in this promise of Christ, Pope Francis reminds us that “mercy will always be greater than any sin, and no one can place limits on the love of God who is ever ready to forgive” (Misericordiae Vultus, 3).
Find mercy in our Christian community through the Sacrament of Reconciliation and through the many ministries of mercy and healing. So many people are reaching out to love you whether you are in need of forgiveness, suffering a loss, struggling with addiction, or just trying to get by.
How to go to confession — Read this step-by-step guide on how to make a good confession.
Definition — We receive God’s healing forgiveness for sins committed after baptism during reconciliation. It is called reconciliation because it reconciles us not only with God but with the Church community. (“Handbook for Today’s Catholic,” page 56)
Parts of reconciliation — According to “The Catholic Source Book,” the four parts are: 1. Contrition: internal sorrow, repentance; 2. Confession: telling of sins for which absolution is requested; 3. Absolution: healing power of Jesus (forgiveness); and 4. Satisfaction: penance, reform of life.
How it works — The catechism explains that the two essential elements are the human part (through the action of the Holy Spirit; nos. 1, 2, and 4) and God’s action (through the intervention of the Church; no. 3)
Sacramental seal – Obligation for minister of reconciliation (priest) to maintain secrecy; sometimes called the seal of confession (catechism, no. 1467)
How often should I go? — We are to confess our sins at least once a year. It is a reminder to receive the sacrament regularly. “However, frequent confession is of great value; it makes us more deeply conformed to Christ and most submissive to the voice of the Spirit.” (Handbook, 75)
Communal reconciliation service — During Lent, we will offer this to provide an additional opportunity to receive this sacrament. It is a short service with prayers, readings and songs, followed by private, individual confessions with priests stationed throughout the church.
Act of Contrition in Sign Language