“Those who approach the sacrament of Penance obtain pardon from God’s mercy for the offense committed against him, and are, at the same time, reconciled with the Church which they have wounded by their sins and which by charity, by example, and by prayer labors for their conversion.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, #1422)
Each Advent and Lent, our parish celebrates a Communal Reconciliation Service, which includes a Liturgy of the Word, communal prayer and song, and a time for individual confession and absolution from one of multiple priests available to celebrate the sacrament.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation, sometimes called Confession or Penance, brings us back to grace and life in Christ. While Baptism takes away original sin, the effects of that sin stay with us. As humans we will always be tempted, and we will always sin. Reconciliation calls us to conversion, to turn away from sin and back to God, our Heavenly Father who loves us unconditionally. We confess our sins to the Priest, who by the Sacrament of Holy Orders, has been given authority by Jesus Christ to absolve (forgive) our sins in his name. The Sacrament of Reconciliation may be celebrated many, many times throughout our lives, and this is strongly encouraged. Precepts of the Church state Reconciliation should take place at least one time per year, preferably during Lent.
If you find yourself in a state of mortal sin, having knowingly committed a grave sin, Reconciliation is needed before returning to the Lord’s Table in Communion.
RECONCILIATION FOR CHILDREN
Preparation for Penance must take place prior to preparation and reception of First Communion…It is important for parents/guardians to have an understanding of and appreciation for the Sacrament of Penance. Only then will the newly formed penitent grow in his/her fidelity to the sacrament. Thus, sacrament preparation meetings are essential and provide an opportunity for good solid adult faith formation.” (Excerpted from Sacraments for Young Children)
The policy of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati is that children in the 2nd grade and above, about age 7 or older, be prepared for and celebrate the sacrament of Penance before they are prepared for and celebrate the sacrament of Eucharist. Therefore, children are prepared for and celebrate the two sacraments in the same year. Information for parents is given in a meeting usually in January. Notice of the meeting will be published in the weekly bulletin.
Contact Beth Pettigrew for more information at 554-1010 or firstname.lastname@example.org
RECONCILIATION FOR ADULTS
Reconciliation is celebrated at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart church on Thursdays from 6:30 pm, immediately following the 6pm Mass until the line is through, at Sts. Peter and Paul church every Saturday from 9:00 am, immediately following the 8:30 am Mass, until the line is through, and on the First Friday Mass every month at Our Lady of the Sacred Heart after the 6:30 pm Mass. You may also call the office to schedule an appointment with the pastor.
Preparation for an adult’s First Reconciliation is done as part of the RCIA program.
How to Go to Confession… from the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops, usccb.org
May the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of all the saints, whatever good you do and suffering you endure, heal your sins, help you grow in holiness, and reward you with eternal life. Go in peace. –Rite of Penance, no. 93
1 PREPARATION: Before going to confession, take some time to prepare. Begin with prayer, and reflect on your life since your last confession. How have you—in your thoughts, words, and actions— neglected to live Christ’s commands to “love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind,” and to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mt 22:37, 39)? As a help with this “examination of conscience,” you might review the Ten Commandments or the Beatitudes (Ex 20:2-17; Dt 5:6-21; Mt 5:3-10; or Lk 6:20-26). (See below for a sample examination of conscience.)
2 GREETING: The priest will welcome you; he may say a short blessing or read a Scripture passage.
3 THE SIGN OF THE CROSS: Together, you and the priest will make the Sign of the Cross. You may then begin your confession with these or similar words: “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been [give days, months, or years] since my last confession.”
4 CONFESSION: Confess all your sins to the priest. If you are unsure what to say, ask the priest for help. When you are finished, conclude with these or similar words: “I am sorry for these and all my sins.”
5 PENANCE: The priest will propose an act of penance. The penance might be prayer, a work of mercy, or an act of charity. He might also counsel you on how to better live a Christian life.
6 ACT OF CONTRITION: After the priest has conferred your penance, pray an Act of Contrition, expressing sorrow for your sins and resolving to sin no more. A suggested Act of Contrition is:
“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.” (Rite of Penance, no. 45)
7 ABSOLUTION: The priest will extend his hands over your head and pronounce the words of absolution. You respond, “Amen.”
8 PRAISE: The priest will usually praise the mercy of God and will invite you to do the same. For example, the priest may say, “Give thanks to the Lord for he is good.” And your response would be, “His mercy endures forever” (Rite of Penance, no. 47).
9 DISMISSAL: The priest will conclude the sacrament, often saying, “Go in peace.”
If it has been a while since your last confession, remember, “Do not fear” (Is 41:10). The priest will help guide you. And feel free to print and take this guide with you! (For more information, visit www.usccb.org/confession.)
A Brief Examination of Conscience Based on the Ten Commandments from usccb.org
I am the Lord your God: you shall not have strange Gods before me. Have I treated people, events, or things as more important than God?
You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain. Have my words, actively or passively, put down God, the Church, or people?
Remember to keep holy the Lord’s Day. Do I go to Mass every Sunday (or Saturday Vigil) and on Holy Days of Obligation (Jan. 1; the Ascension; Aug. 15; Nov. 1; Dec. 8; Dec. 25)? Do I avoid, when possible, work that impedes worship to God, joy for the Lord’s Day, and proper relaxation of mind and body? Do I look for ways to spend time with family or in service on Sunday?
Honor your father and your mother. Do I show my parents due respect? Do I seek to maintain good communication with my parents where possible? Do I criticize them for lacking skills I think they should have?
You shall not kill. Have I harmed another through physical, verbal, or emotional means, including gossip or manipulation of any kind?
You shall not commit adultery. Have I respected the physical and sexual dignity of others and of myself?
You shall not steal. Have I taken or wasted time or resources that belonged to another.
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. Have I gossiped, told lies, or embellished stories at the expense of another?
You shall not covet your neighbor’s spouse. Have I honored my spouse with my full affection and exclusive love?
You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods. Am I content with my own means and needs, or do I compare myself to others unnecessarily?