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The Sacrament of Reconciliation is for our spiritual healing. According to the Gospels, after the Resurrection, Jesus appeared to the apostles, breathed on them, and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.” (John 20:22-23) The reason for this sacrament is to heal our spiritual wounds, which we call sin.

Forgiveness and Reconciliation:

A very popular question asked is, “why must I go to a priest for confession; can’t I simply pray to God for forgiveness?” The answer to this question is a great way of getting to the heart of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

First, consider the damaging effect of sin, especially how it can destroy our relationship with God. In Baptism, Our Father gives us all the grace we need to live a good life. Sin is a rejection of that grace. This kind of offence requires special attention. A Sacrament that is damaged by sin can only be renewed by another Sacrament.

Forgiveness is the predisposition of God towards all His children. In His love we can be sure that He will always be merciful, and forgiving to us when we are sorry. At the same time His justice makes it impossible to ignore sins committed and demands that some sort of reparation be made.

Reconciliation is the process by which we are restored to friendship with God. Not only does the Sacrament provide us with a formula by which our sins are forgiven, it also provides a means of repairing our damaged relationship with God. In confessing our sins before a priest we are making a concrete effort to express sorrow for our sins and a desire to be right with God. The priest can then abolish those sins so that we never need to carry guilt or shame for them ever again.

Please click here to learn more from the Hamilton Diocese Resource page on celebrating the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

When does the instruction of the children begin?

All Catholic children, even if they are not attending Catholic schools, are welcome to participate in our parish program if their parents worship in any of the church communities within the boundaries of Immaculate Conception Parish.

The instruction for First Reconciliation typically takes place during March for both the Catholic school and public school children in second grade.

The parents, with help from the program coordinator and the parish priest, prepare their child for First Reconciliation.

Please click here to learn how to contact the parish office and register.

Please click here to learn about the Sacrament of Reconciliation as it relates to COVID-19.

I have not been to Confession for a long time, how is it done?

• We start by examining our conscience. A good way to do this is to review the Ten Commandments or review an examination of conscience to identify those that we have broken. We must have perfect contrition for these sins; in other words, be truly sorry for them and be resolved to not repeat them.

• We enter the confessional and greet the priest. We say, “Bless me Father for I have sinned, it has been (state how long) since my last confession.”

• We confess all our mortal or serious sins and answer any questions the priest has.

• When we have finished confessing we say an Act of Contrition, such as:

“Oh my God, I am very sorry for having offended You. I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven and fear the pain of hell, but most of all, because I have offended You, my God, Who are all good and deserving of my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Your grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin. Amen.”

• The priest will say the prayer of Absolution and give us a penance to do.

• We then leave and immediately perform the penance given to us.

Text content provided in-part or in-whole by St. Michael’s Basilica, Archdiocese of Toronto.

Video content published with permission of Busted Halo ministries and the Diocese of Hamilton.