Be friends with one another, and kind, forgiving each other as readily as God forgave you in Christ.
Jesus entrusted to his Apostles the ability to forgive sins, and this practice continues in the Church today. When we have fallen from the right path, we can be confident that God’s love, mercy and forgiveness awaits us when we are prepared to seek it.
God’s forgiveness awaits us in the sacrament of Reconciliation. At St. Mary’s, Reconciliation (or Confession as it can more commonly be known) is available every Saturday after morning Mass, and from 5.30pm-5.55pm every Saturday evening. Our parish priest will also happily offer the Sacrament of Reconciliation at other times upon request.
Sometimes Catholics can be very nervous about the sacrament of Reconciliation, either because of what is on their conscience or because of the time that has elapsed since their last confession. There is a simple message to everyone who feels this way: do not be afraid! God’s love and mercy awaits you in this sacrament.
To receive this sacrament, simply begin by making the Sign of the Cross, and then say “Bless me Father, for I have sinned. It has been … since my last confession” and let the priest know how long it has been since you last received the sacrament of reconciliation. If you are unsure, let the priest know roughly how long it may have been. Remember, the priest is there to help and support you. He may then offer some words of encouragement, and after this you can proceed by explaining what you wish to confess. You should then listen to his advice and he will suggest a penance (usually prayers or an act of kindness which we will do to express our sorrow). The priest will then invite you to recite an Act of Contrition – the words to this are printed in the confessional, but you may use a version such as:
“O my God, because you are so good, I am very sorry that I have sinned against you, and by the help of your grace I will not sin again. Amen.”
The priest will then say the prayer of absolution, to which you respond “Amen.” He will then dismiss you, and you can then leave the confessional.
If you are concerned about forgetting the prayers or the form of this sacrament, you are welcome to take a copy of them, or a prayer book, along with you. If you do forget any of the prayers, simply let the priest know and he will be happy to help you.