The Sacrament of Penance
Saturdays, 4:00pm to 4:50pm, or by appointment with a priest.
Popularly known as “confession” the Sacrament of Penance is sometimes vilified, sometimes satirized. Confessing one’s sins is only one aspect of the sacrament. Penance invokes God’s unconditional mercy and love. Forgiveness is absolute as granted and that is contained in the blessing given to the penitent known as “absolution”. It absolves – frees the penitent – absolutely. Neither the priest nor the penitent is necessarily focused on the confession as much as on the need to resolve spiritual ills, some of which result in objective sin. At times great emotional and religious burden are lifted. The sacrament engenders a renewed life, a life restored to baptismal innocence. As with all the sacraments, it is ideally celebrated in one’s native language, in private and away for unnecessary distraction or external pressures. Priests stand ready to offer an atmosphere of healing, and peace with God and the Church. Time permitting, some limited spiritual direction might be offered in accordance of the receptivity and disposition of the penitent.
Another form of celebration takes place in the Rites of Reconciliation, a communal event that offers an opportunity to see a priest after scripture is proclaimed, a homily is offered and common prayer is offered by those in attendance for the sake of everyone present. This form usually is scheduled in parishes during Advent and Lent.
Offered upon request, home or hospital, and scheduled periodically for the home-bound elderly or sick.
As the sacrament of Penance is “good for the soul”, so the sacrament of Anointing of the Sick is good for the body. In the Letter of Saint James, the Church is admonished to pray, cry, sing and be as one with whatever the conditions of the Body of Christ. Lastly, “are there any who are sick among you? Let them send for the priests of the Church, and let the priests pray over them anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer of faith will save the sick persons, and the Lord will raise them up; and if they have committed any sins will be forgiven the,.” This ancient apostolic mandate, recalling the healing ministry of Jesus, and carried on by the power of the Holy Spirit, gives life and health to the ailing members of the Body of Christ. An able-minded recipient is encouraged and welcomed to request the sacrament of Penance as well. In some cases, like the Sacrament of Penance, spiritual direction may be offered upon request.