The Sacrament of Penance is known by many names: The Sacrament of Penance, Conversion, Confession, Reconciliation and more. The new life of grace, which is received through Baptism, indeed through all the Sacraments of Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation and Eucharist), does not abolish the frailty and weakness of our fallen human nature, nor the inclination to sin through temptation. This inclination remains with all the baptized such that with the help of the grace of Christ they may prove themselves in the struggle of Christian life. The Lord Jesus gave therefore gave us this Sacrament of forgiveness in the example of Saint Peter when, after his threefold denial of our Lord, Saint Peter makes his threefold declaration of love for Him, anew (Jn 21:15-17).
“Individual, integral confession and absolution remain the only ordinary way for the faithful to reconcile themselves with God and the Church, unless physical or moral impossibility excuses from this kind of confession” (CCC, 1484).
Of the Five Precepts of the Church, which constitute the indispensable “bare minimum” regular actions for all Catholics, the second of these is: “You shall confess your sins at least once a year.” This is ordinarily done during the Season of Lent but should certainly be done whenever one is conscious of having committed grave sin. Grave matter is that which is specified by the Ten Commandments: to murder, to steal, etc. Grave sins, which are committed freely and having consciously known them to be serious moral offenses, constitute mortal sins and must be forgiven through absolution.
Praised be Jesus Christ! Truly, there is hope for sinners, and healing for those who are erring. The Sacrament of Penance, like the Anointing of the Sick, is a healing Sacrament. Saint Peter, in Luke 5, exhorts our Lord, “Depart from me Lord, for I am a sinful man.” Yet Jesus consoles him with these words: “Do not be afraid.” Neither should we fear, nor flee, from the forgiveness God wishes to give us in this Sacrament.
Please see our confession times for the celebration of this Sacrament in your parish.