The Sacrament of Reconciliation is available beginning an hour prior to every mass or, if it is more convenient for the individual, by appointment with the priest.
What is the Sacrament of Penance?
It is a true sacrament, instituted by Jesus Christ. The confessing of the sins to the confessor is necessary by divine right. It must be of all the grave (mortal) sins committed after baptism or since the last confession. The Sacrament of Penance is where God forgives all of our faults that we have committed. To receive the forgiveness of all sins, one must make their confession only before a priest.
What is a mortal sin?
A mortal sin goes against the laws of God and the Church. The conditions that must be present for one to commit a mortal sin are that one must have complete knowledge that one is doing something grave. It goes against the will of God, gives his\her consent and the person has the intention to commit the act with their thoughts, words or deeds. A venial sin is when the act is not grave, or the person does not have full knowledge or will, and does not give complete consent.
Biblical References of the Sacrament of Reconciliation:
*Christ imparts the power to Peter to forgive sins Matthew 16:19.
*Christ gives the power to the apostles to forgive sins John 20:21-23
How often must I go to Confession?
According to the Code of Canon Law, the Church tells us that: “After having reached the age of discretion, each member of the faithful is obliged to confess faithfully his or her grave sins at least once a year.” (CIC 989). As a general rule, one must go to confession every time one commits a mortal sin.
What is an examination of conscience?
We are to examine our conscience in prayer before God in light of the teachings of God and the Catholic Church since the last confession. It is necessary so one would be able to do a good confession. It is even recommended to do an examination of conscience on a daily basis. The purpose of the examination of conscience is not to make us feel bad but to acknowledge and recognize our faults in confidence in God so that when we confess them we will be forgiven. The examination of conscience is made before God, listening to His voice in our lives.
Requirements to make a good confession:
1. Examination of Conscience
2. Be sorry for the sins one has committed
3. Have the will to change one’s life to be in the grace of God
4. Confess the sins to a priest
5. Complete the penance: The priest will ask the penitent to do something and even sometimes gives advice.
6. Penitent says the act of Contrition
7. Priest gives absolution: the forgiveness of all sins confessed.
Act of Contrition
There are many variations of this prayers. This is one of the many variations:
O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended You and I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell, but most of all because they offend you, my God, who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of your grace, to confess my sins, to do penance and to amend my life.