“Christ instituted the sacrament of Penance for all sinful members of his Church: above all for those who, since Baptism, have fallen into grave sin, and have thus lost their baptismal grace and wounded ecclesial communion. It is to them that the sacrament of Penance offers a new possibility to convert and to recover the grace of justification. The Fathers of the Church present this sacrament as “the second plank [of salvation] after the shipwreck which is the loss of grace.” (CCC 1446)
Reconciliation with Christ and His Church
"Forgiveness is not a result of our efforts, but is a gift. It is a gift of the Holy Spirit who showers us with mercy and grace that pours forth unceasingly from the open heart of Christ crucified and risen." – Pope Francis
As a result of human weaknesses, very often our life in Christ gained through the Sacrament of Baptism, is threatened by sin. Our sins, the ways in which we place ourselves over God and neighbor, mar our relationships, our happiness, and our destiny. We should not despair. God is Love, and God is Mercy, continually reaching out to us again and again to "return home."
Sin is not a private affair, but affects all of our relationships. The Sacrament of Confession reconciles us with Christ and His Church. St. Paul tells us that, because of Christ, "where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more" (Romans 5:20). God is ready and waiting, eager to forgive and to shower you with Love and Mercy.
The Gospels provide numerous examples of Jesus’ mission to forgive sins. While only God can forgive sins, the Church is his instrument of forgiveness on earth. On Pentecost Jesus shared with the Apostles his power to forgive sins: “Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” (Jn 20:21-23) Today, priests and bishops continue this ministry to forgive sins.
Sins committed after Baptism are forgiven in the Sacrament of Penance. For those who have committed mortal sin, this Sacrament is necessary to be reconciled with God and the Church. What can a person expect when they go to confession? They will be greeted by the priest, who will usually read from Scripture. The person confesses their sins; the priest may offer encouragement or guidance for the person’s moral and spiritual growth. The priest gives a penance and asks the person to say an act of contrition. Then the priest, representing Christ, grants absolution.
People who have been away from the sacrament may worry that they no longer know how to go to confession. In that case, they should tell the priest that it’s been a while since they have received the sacrament and ask for help to make a good confession. The priest will guide them through the ritual. Many people experience great peace and spiritual consolation after making a good confession. Their encounter with a loving, merciful God gives them renewed strength and ability to turns towards God and away from sin.
This Sacrament gives Christ’s faithful the further possibility of conversion. All of us know that we are not perfect and depend on God for the grace necessary to change our lives. Through Confession, we announce our sins to the priest who sits “in persona Christi” (in the person of Christ) and exercises the command of Christ to His Apostles, ”Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” (Jn 20:23)
What is Confession?
The Sacrament of Confession is one which brings healing and reconciliation. Our relationship with Jesus Christ is not a private matter, likewise, neither are our sins.
The priest in the Sacrament of Confession stands in the place of Christ and the community of the Church to offer the penitent sinner hope, healing, and God’s mercy in a way that is entirely confidential.
First Confession for those who are baptized Catholics is normally received in the second grade, just prior to First Communion. To receive more information, please call.
The Sacrament of Confession is offered every Thursday at the sacristy of Saint Lawrence Church at 5:30.m. and at the back of the Saint William Church at 3:00pm.
Communal Penance Services are also held during the seasons of Advent and Lent. At these services, the community gathers in prayer and then several priests are made available throughout the church for private confessions.
During these seasons please refer to the website or bulletin to know when the Penance Services are scheduled.
You may also schedule an appointment for Confession by contacting the office at 270-281-4802.