The Catholic Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation has three elements: conversion, confession and celebration. In it we find God's unconditional forgiveness, and as a result we are called to forgive others.
In this sacrament, the outward sign is the absolution, or forgiveness of sins, that the priest grants to the penitent (the person confessing his or her sins); the inward grace is the reconciliation of the penitent to God. To receive the sacrament worthily, three things are required of the penitent:
- To be contrite—or, in other words, sorry for his or her sins.
- To confess those sins fully, in kind and in number.
- To be willing to do penance and make amends for his or her sins.
Catholics are only required to go to Confession when they are aware that they have committed a mortal sin. However, the Church strongly recommends that, in preparation for fulfilling our Easter Duty to receive communion, we go to Confession even if we are aware only of venial sin.
At Saint Mary's, the sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation is held on Saturdays at 4pm or by appointment.
Children receive the sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation for the first time in the spring of second grade. For more information, please see Religious Ed.