The Sacrament of Penance

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.