Sacrament of Reconciliation

Overview

As sinners, we recognize both our human limitations and failures and also God’s limitless love for us. God loves and forgives us, and the sacrament of reconciliation makes this gift of forgiveness a reality in the life of the sinner. We are restored to a proper relationship with God. Through the cleansing of our sins and guilt, we are once again made whole and holy.

The sacrament of penance is one of two sacraments of healing. It is the sacrament that brings spiritual healing for Catholics who have distanced themselves from God by committing sins.

There are four elements involved:

  1. the penitent’s contrition for sin
  2. confession to a priest
  3. absolution by the priest
  4. satisfaction

Through penance, the faithful receive pardon through God’s mercy for the sins they have committed. At the same time, they are reconciled with the Church community. The confession, or disclosure, of sins frees us and facilitates our reconciliation with others.

Reconciliation At Saint Anthony

CONFESSION SCHEDULE (as of September 1, 2019)

The Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confessions) will now be celebrated on Monday Evenings at 6 PM:

Saint Anthony – 1st and 3rd Monday of the Month; and,
Saint Mary – 2nd & 4th Monday of the Month.

Preparation

We highly recommend the following guide, published by the Archdiocese of Boston, in preparing for Reconciliation:

A Guide to Making a Thorough Examination of Conscience and a Good Confession

Frequently Asked Questions About the Sacrament of Reconciliation

The Catechism of the Catholic Church on Reconciliation (1485-1498)

“On the evening of that day, the first day of the week,” Jesus showed himself to his apostles. “He breathed on them, and said to them: “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”(Jn 20:19, 22-23).

The forgiveness of sins committed after Baptism is conferred by a particular sacrament called the sacrament of conversion, confession, penance, or reconciliation.

The sinner wounds God’s honor and love, his own human dignity as a man called to be a son of God, and the spiritual well-being of the Church, of which each Christian ought to be a living stone.

To the eyes of faith no evil is graver than sin and nothing has worse consequences for sinners themselves, for the Church, and for the whole world.

To return to communion with God after having lost it through sin is a process born of the grace of God who is rich in mercy and solicitous for the salvation of men. One must ask for this precious gift for oneself and for others.

The movement of return to God, called conversion and repentance, entails sorrow for and abhorrence of sins committed, and the firm purpose of sinning no more in the future. Conversion touches the past and the future and is nourished by hope in God’s mercy.

The sacrament of Penance is a whole consisting in three actions of the penitent and the priest’s absolution. The penitent’s acts are repentance, confession or disclosure of sins to the priest, and the intention to make reparation and do works of reparation.

Repentance (also called contrition) must be inspired by motives that arise from faith. If repentance arises from love of charity for God, it is called “perfect” contrition; if it is founded on other motives, it is called “imperfect.”

One who desires to obtain reconciliation with God and with the Church, must confess to a priest all the unconfessed grave sins he remembers after having carefully examined his conscience. The confession of venial faults, without being necessary in itself, is nevertheless strongly recommended by the Church.

The confessor proposes the performance of certain acts of “satisfaction” or “penance” to be performed by the penitent in order to repair the harm caused by sin and to re-establish habits befitting a disciple of Christ.

Only priests who have received the faculty of absolving from the authority of the Church can forgive sins in the name of Christ.

The spiritual effects of the sacrament of Penance are:

  1. reconciliation with God by which the penitent recovers grace
  2. reconciliation with the Church
  3. remission of the eternal punishment incurred by mortal sins
  4. remission, at least in part, of temporal punishments resulting from sin
  5. peace and serenity of conscience, and spiritual consolation
  6. an increase of spiritual strength for the Christian battle.

Individual and integral confession of grave sins followed by absolution remains the only ordinary means of reconciliation with God and with the Church.

Through indulgences the faithful can obtain the remission of temporal punishment resulting from sin for themselves and also for the souls in Purgatory.

Examination of Conscience

In an examination of conscience, before the Sacrament of Penance, each individual should ask himself or herself these questions in particular:

  • Have I ever failed to confess a serious sin or disguised it?
  • Have I been guilty of irreverence for this sacrament by failing to examine my conscience carefully?
  • Have I failed to perform the penance given me by the confessor or disobeyed any of his directions?
  • Have I neglected the Easter duty of receiving Holy Communion or failed to confess my sins within a year?
  • Have I any habits of serious sin to confess first?

Act of Contrition

The preferred short form of an Act of Contrition at St. Anthony is

My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong and in failing to do good, I have sinned against you, whom I 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. Amen.

Other acceptable forms include:

O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee, and I detest all my sins because of Thy just punishments, but most of all because they offend Thee, my God, who art all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve with the help of Thy grace to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin. Amen.

or:

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. Amen.

or:

Lord Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

After this the priest will absolve the penitent in the following words: God, the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins; through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit.

The penitent makes the sign of the Cross and answers: Amen

The priest will then dismiss the penitent with a short prayer and encouragement. The penitent should then try to fulfill the penance imposed if it is something that can be done quickly.