The Sacrament of Reconciliation, also known as Confession, is an encounter mediated by a priest between Jesus Christ and the penitent whose sins are completely forgiven through Absolution; he or she is once more reconciled with God the Merciful Father.
Admitting to our faults and failings can be difficult and is not a weakness, but a strength that helps us in the growth of relationships generally, more so in the relationship we should seek to have with God through Jesus, who shared our humanity and knows human frailty first hand and what the burden of sin is like, although He was sinless. The sacrament allows us the opportunity of an honest encounter freeing us from the burden of sin, that separates us, and leads us away, from God, who is merciful and loving, and confers upon us His saving Grace that will continue to guide us on the pathway to holiness. Here, we are reminded of the Parable of the Prodigal Son, who after making seriously wrong lifestyle choices, is welcomed back home by a loving, forgiving father [God], who wraps his arms around him, and us too!
Through an examination of conscience, penitents are invited to firstly consider grave offences, otherwise known as Mortal sins, that cause serious harm to the relationship with God and others, and secondly the less serious Venial sins, which still stain the soul and can build a barrier to God’s Grace.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation provides for four key moments:
Confession – an honest and straightforward admission of sins since the last confession
Contrition – the penitent expresses sorrow and remorse [Act of Contrition] for the sins confessed
Absolution – through prayer and on behalf of Christ, the priest absolves [forgives] the sins confessed
Penance – a right relationship is restored with God through prayers and/or an act of reparation
We are encouraged to have confidence in this sacrament and to frequent it as much as is necessary, and a priest will always make himself available to hear confession.
Children are prepared for the Sacrament of Forgiveness during the academic year in which they are eight years old, though older children can join the programme. They are enrolled and preparation begins in September each year. Parents are invited to help and support their children to celebrate the Sacrament when they are ready, before receiving Holy Communion the following May. Preparations for First Holy Communion run consecutively. If you wish your child to join in our preparation programme, please contact the priest or deacon so as to make the arrangements. Preparations are undertaken by our Catechists on Sundays during the 11:00 Mass.