“So whoever is in Christ is a new creation: the old things have passed away; behold, the new things have come. And all this is from God, who has reconciled us to himself through Christ and given us the ministry of reconciliation … We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.” 2 Corinthians 5: 17-19, 20
The Catholic Sacrament of Reconciliation (also known as Penance, or Confession) has three elements: conversion, confession and celebration. In it we find God’s unconditional forgiveness; as a result we are called to forgive others.
In the Diocese of Toledo, the Sacrament of Reconciliation is normally first received in 2nd grade and is received before the first reception of Holy Communion. If your child is not already attending Sacramental Preparation, reach out to your local parish to get involved in Religious Education or “Catechesis”.
Each local parish will have times designated for Reconciliation each week, so check your local parish website or call the parish office to find the Sacrament of Reconciliation near you. Catholics should receive this Sacrament at least once per year, but you are highly encouraged to go even more frequently. Christ and his unreserved mercy await you there!
How to make a good Confession?
First, make an Examination of Conscience.
Second, go to Confession. Typically, you have the option of making your confession behind the screen or face-to-face.
- The priest gives a blessing or greeting.
- Make the Sign of the Cross and say, “Bless me Father, for I have sinned. It has been ___ (weeks, months, or years) since my last confession.”
- Confess all your sins to the priest. (If you are unsure or uneasy, tell him and ask for help).
- Say, “I am sorry for these and all my sins.”
- The priest gives a penance and may offer some spiritual advice or encouragement.
- Say the Act of Contrition, expressing your sorrow for your sins.·
- The priest, acting in the person of Christ, then absolves you from your sins.
Third, after receiving absolution, rejoice! Your sins are forgiven! Be sure to make your penance, and then be at peace.
Examinations of Conscience
For Young AdultsWhat Must I Do? The Sacrament of Reconciliation and Young Adults
For Single PeopleCast Your Cares upon the Lord: The Sacrament of Reconciliation and Single People
For Married PeopleThe Two Shall Become One: The Sacrament of Reconciliation and Marriage
Act of Contrition
O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended you, and I detest all my sins because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell, but most of all because they have offended you, my God, who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of your grace, to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life. Amen.
My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, I have sinned against You whom I should love above all things. I firmly intend, with Your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin. Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. In His name, my God, have mercy. Amen.