Penance Service tonight
Parish Penance Service - tonight, 7:30 pm, SAA Church. The service will include readings, a homily, and a public examination of conscience. Then, there will be several priests here to hear individual confessions. Please encourage others to take advantage of this opportunity to receive God's Mercy, and pray for a good turnout of St A's parishioners!
The following are my notes for our discussions in RCIA about Confession. The comments or questions in italics are some of the most common among Catholics and non-Catholics about Confession. To view an examination of conscience, please go to the post, “Examination of Conscience”, from 8/24/06 under Archives.
I’m afraid to go to Confession
- been many years
- forgot how
- priest will judge me
- priest will tell others my sins
- I will forget some sins
- I wouldn’t know where to start with my sins
Keep in mind:
- it is Christ in the Confessional; in persona Christi
- “whoever hears you, hears me” (Lk10:16)
- we hear and know we are forgiven
-“I absolve you in the name of the F, S, and the HS”
- Christ’s grace in Confession heals us and gives us the strength to overcome future sins (MT, JP II)
- the priest can give us advice on how to avoid the sins in the future
- confessing on the lips = shows true contrition
- as when I sin against a friend; need to go face to face
How do I make a good Confession?
- examination of conscience
- do your penance
How often should I go?
- at least once a year (req.)
- whenever in mortal sin or think you may be (before Comm.)
- once a month (MT, JP II)
- grow in grace and holiness; frequent Confession helps us to
‘ forgive those who trespass against us’ so that we will be
- see our sins as they are (gossip, e.g.) and see ourselves as we are: “Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner”
I thought only God forgives sins. How can the priest forgive sins?
Jesus gives his power of forgiving sins to the Apostles (the first priests):
“’As the Father sent me, so I am sending you’. After saying this, he
breathed on them and said: ‘receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive
anyone’s sins, they are forgiven; if you retain anyone’s sins, they are
retained’”. – Jn 20:21-23
“ God reconciled us to himself through Christ and he gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (1 Cor 5: 18)
Why do I need to confess my sins to a priest? Why can’t I just confess to God privately?
- we can be forgiven of venial sins outside of Confession
- the Penitential Rite at Mass, Eucharist, sincere Act of Contrition, e.g.
- but, forgiveness of mortal sins is reserved for Confession