I absolve you….from your sins
The Catholic Sacrament of Reconciliation (also known as Penance, Confession, or Penance and Reconciliation) has three elements: conversion, confession and celebration. In it we find God’s unconditional forgiveness; as a result we are called to forgive others.
Confessions are every Thursday at 9am & Saturdays from 4:00 – 4:30pm OR by appointment
Information, videos, and helpful tips on the Sacrament of Reconciliation: http://www.thelightisonforyou.org/
How to Go to Confession
One of the Five Precepts of the Catholic Church is to confess our sins once a year.
Some Catholics say that the reason they don’t celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation is because they can’t remember all the steps. Well, the priest will always help you with that, but here is a brief explanation.
- Examine your conscience using the Ten Commandments or The Beatitudes or some other method of thinking through the sins you need to confess.
- Enter and sit facing the priest, or behind the screen, whichever makes you most comfortable. The screen is there to make it easier for those who prefer anonymity.
- Start with the sign of the cross. You can begin with “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been [2 months, or 2 years, or whatever] since my last confession and these are my sins.” Or you can simply say: “Hi Father.” And he will say: “Hello. How long has it been since your last confession.” Priests are delighted that someone is utilizing the sacrament; so don’t expect to be judged. He will guide you through the sacrament.
- Confess your sins in kind and number. But if you can’t remember all the details it is okay to speak in generalities like “I have been selfish in a number of ways but here are two that I remember that weigh on my heart…” It is understandable that one can’t remember all the details. This sacrament is comprehensive, meaning that one does not ask forgiveness for some sins now and more at a later time. Rather, we are called to give our lives and love completely to God; to confess our sins completely (to the best of our recollection); and to be completely reconciled through God’s complete mercy and love for us. Trust Jesus!
- Counsel may be given by the priest. The priest is there to help you live a better Christian life and to support you, not to judge you. Think of the priest as a “spiritual life coach”.
- A Penance is then given – which is not a punishment – but is an action we are asked to do that helps us to be the kind of Catholic we desire to be. It may be to pray, or to perform some practical or symbolic action that reminds us how we desire to live our faith.
- Pray for forgiveness and conversion via the Act of Contrition (see below, and there is usually a copy available in the confessional) or in your own words. It does not need to be memorized.
- Absolution is then prayed over you by the priest, which is the assurance of complete forgiveness in the name of God and the Church (The People of God).
- Dismissal takes place either formally: “Go and sin no more.” “Thanks be to God.” Or informally, “See you later!” “Bye. Thank you.”
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.