The Sacrament of Penance is also known as the ‘Sacrament of Reconciliation’ or traditionally called ‘Confession’. It is the rite by which sins are confessed and forgiven. Sin is failure to recognise and love God in the way we think or act. Sin is also not just a failure to love God directly but also a failure to love one another.
In this sacrament people are forgiven their sins by the words and actions of the priest. We call this ‘Absolution’. The priest represents God and he ministers forgiveness on behalf of God and the community.
The sacrament can be celebrated in a one-to-one encounter with a priest: this is known as ‘individual confession’. ‘Penitential Services’ are organized at special times; e.g. Advent and Lent. In this form of celebration, people prepare as a community and a number of Priests hear confessions individually and people receive absolution individually.
Penance is a sign of sorrow and it is a sign of our sincerity to change our lives. When the Sacrament is a communal celebration, the penance is said as a community, once all have had the opportunity to confess. When celebrated in the traditional one-to-one form, a penance is given and the person takes on that penance privately.
Any person who has been baptised and prepared appropriately can celebrate the sacrament of Reconciliation provided they are already baptized.
Confessions are available each Saturday from 5.15 – 5.45 p.m.