Saturdays 6.30pm, before evening Mass.
Penitential services take place before Easter and Christmas and before the Confirmation and First Communion ceremonies for parents and children. Also, after any Mass on request.
What is the Sacrament of Reconciliation?
The Sacrament of Penance is also known as ‘the Sacrament of Reconciliation’ or traditionally called ‘Confession’. It is a 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.
We celebrate this good news in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. To this Sacrament we bring our struggles with Reconciliation, struggles in the home, between friends, in work and in the community. In it, we connect again with mystery of the God’s mercy. From it, we go forward with new hope, comfort and challenge.
In recent decades we have seen the Sacrament of Reconciliation become marginal to the lives of many, if not most Catholics. Different explanations have been offered – such as that people today have lost the sense of sin, or that people had very negative experiences of the sacrament in the past.
Rediscovering the grace of this sacrament is one of the great challenges facing us today. But we can be confident that, if we approach the issues honestly and seriously, the sacrament can once again assume its place at the heart of Christian living.
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 the community who is affected by sin and the priest ministers forgiveness on behalf of God and the community.
Forms of Celebration.
The sacrament can be celebrated in a one-one encounter with a priest. This is known as ‘individual confession.’ Many parishes organise ‘Penitential Services’ at special times; e.g. Advent, Lent and Parish Missions. In this form of celebration, which is communal, people prepare as community and many priests hear confessions individually and people receive absolution individually.
Penance is a sign of sorrow and a commitment to try to make amends. It is also a sign of our sincerity to change our lives. This is what is meant by conversion.