“In the life of the body a man is sometimes sick, and unless he takes medicine, he will die. Even so in the spiritual life, a man is sick on account of sin. For that reason, he needs medicine so that he may be restored to health, and this grace is bestowed in the Sacrament of Penance.”
Saint Thomas Aquinas
The Sacrament of Reconciliation (also known as confession) is the Sacrament of spiritual healing. Reconciliation allows us to express our sorrow for things we have done wrong, heal broken relationships, forgive ourselves and others, and restore our union with God.
Jesus Christ established the Sacrament of Reconciliation and commissioned his Apostles to act as mediators for the forgiveness of sins. We read this in John’s Gospel:
Jesus said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” (John 20:21-23)
When a person unburdens his soul and confesses his sins to a Priest, a very sacred trust is formed. The Priest maintains absolute secrecy about anything that a person confesses. Upon conclusion, the Priest gives absolution for our sins, relieving us from the burdens of guilt and shame. No matter how great the sin, we can still be certain that God forgives us, loves us, and wants only to heal us.
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Baptized children, who have completed one year of religious education, can begin preparing to receive their First Reconciliation in the second grade. It is customary that a child preparing for First Eucharist also prepare and celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation before receiving the Eucharist for the first time.
Concurrent enrollment in both Sacramental Preparation and Faith Formation is required. Click here for more information.
Older Children & Teens
The process for an older child is evaluated on an individual basis and the needs of the family.
The sacramental process for children and teens between the ages of seven and seventeen is the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) adapted for children and teens. Click here for more information.
If you are an adult seeking the Sacrament of Reconciliation, you are invited to join the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) to learn about the Catholic faith. Click here for more information.
Catholic Education: Reconciliation
How To Make a Good Confession
Confession is a place of healing, not a place of judgment or punishment. It is not difficult, but it does require preparation. We should begin with prayer, as we review our lives since our last confession, searching our thoughts, words, and actions for times when we weren’t living up to God’s will. This is called an examination of conscience. Use the guidelines below to assist you in your prayer.
Examination of Conscience
- Have I loved God above all things?
- Has my speech been worthy?
- Have I attended Mass on Sundays and Holy Days?
- Have I respected my parents, superiors and those around me?
- Have I harmed with my words or my actions?
- Have I kept myself clean, pure and been faithful to my vows?
- Have I cheated or stolen?
- Have I spoken uncharitably about others or gossiped?
- Have I weakened my vows with my obsession with another?
- Have I been jealous of the things others have?