"Whose sins you shall forgive are forgiven them,
and whose sins you retain are retained."
Returning to communion with God after having been lost through sin is a process born of the grace of God and His concern for the salvation of humankind. One must ask for this precious gift of forgiveness for oneself. In this sacrament Jesus forgives our sins as soon as we are sorry. (1489)
The sacrament of Reconciliation requires contrition, confession and a purpose of amendment on the part of the individual, and absolution and acceptance on the part of the Church.
When we present ourselves for the sacrament we must be of open heart and open mind. We cannot change without coming to recognize where it is in our lives that we have sinned. We must first review our lives with complete honesty. Then we say aloud our sins before the priest who is acting in Persona Christi (in the person of Christ). The priest then gives absolution which takes away the sins but doesn't repair all the damage that sin may have caused. So in addition to contrition and confession, we are given a penance in order to make restitution or amends for our sins.
How to Go to Confession
Prepare to go to confession with a careful examination of conscience.
How do we examine our conscience?
We ask ourselves some questions, for example:
Have I kept God in mind and prayed to Him often?
Have I failed to confess any serious sin?
Have I missed Mass on Sundays without a good reason?
Do I keep the precepts of the Church?
Have I used the name of God without respect?
Do I make God a part of my daily life?
Have I obeyed my parents and guardians?
Are there bad habits I need to change my life?
Have I fought with my brothers, sisters, and others?
Have I knowingly hurt someone?
Have I tried to help others who asked for help?
Have I chosen to do wrong?
Have I shared with my brothers, sisters, and others?
Am I kind and understanding?
Have I lied to anyone?
Am I truly sorry for hurting others?
Have I taken anything that did not belong to me?
Do I respect someone else’s property?
Have I tried to help people who do not have as much as I do?
Do I joyfully help others?
How to go to Confession
The priest greets me.
1. Making the sign of the cross say, “Bless me Father, for I have sinned.” Say, “It has been
(how long?) since my last confession, and these are my sins: (confess your sins) or simply
say how long it has been since your last confession..
2. The priest then says a short prayer to help me have trust in God. I say, “Amen”.
3. The priest may then read a selection from the Bible to help me think of God’s love and
4. I tell my sins to the priest---all that I have done wrong.
5. I tell God I am sorry by saying an Act of Contrition.
6. The priest gives me penance to help make up for my faults and sins.
7. The priest says the prayer of absolution. I say, “Amen”.
8. Right after absolution, the priest says, “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good”.
9. I say, “His Mercy endures forever."
10. The priest then says, “Go in Peace” or “God bless you”. I say, “Thank you, Father”.
11. Then I leave and go to do my penance.
*From: The Catechism of the Catholic Church
Confessions at St. Pius X are on Saturdays at 3:30 p.m. and by appointment. Please check the bulletin for extra confession times during Advent and Lent.
First Communion classes celebrate their First Reconciliation during the months of January and February.