Penance/Reconciliation

Reconciliation is offered 3:30 – 4:30 PM Saturday (or by appointment).

The confessional is located in the Mary, Queen of Peace Chapel in the south entrance off 16th Street. 

WHAT IS THE NAME OF THIS SACRAMENT?
It is called the sacrament of Penance, the sacrament of Reconciliation, the sacrament of Forgiveness, the sacrament of Confession, and the sacrament of Conversion.
 
WHY IS THERE A SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION AFTER BAPTISM?
Since the new life of grace received in Baptism does not abolish the weakness of human nature nor the inclination to sin (that is, concupiscence), Christ instituted this sacrament for the conversion of the baptized who have been separated from him by sin.
 
WHEN DID HE INSTITUTE THIS SACRAMENT?
The risen Lord instituted this sacrament on the evening of Easter when he showed himself to his apostles and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” (John 20:22-23).
 
DO THE BAPTIZED HAVE NEED OF CONVERSION?
The call of Christ to conversion continues to resound in the lives of the baptized. Conversion is a continuing obligation for the whole Church. She is holy but includes sinners in her midst.
 
WHAT IS INTERIOR PENANCE?
It is the movement of a “contrite heart” (Psalm 51:19) drawn by divine grace to respond to the merciful love of God. This entails sorrow for and abhorrence of sins committed, a firm purpose not to sin again in the future, and trust in the help of God. It is nourished by hope in divine mercy.
   
WHAT FORMS DOES PENANCE TAKE IN THE CHRISTIAN LIFE?
Penance can be expressed in many and various ways but above all in fasting, prayer, and almsgiving. These and many other forms of penance can be practiced in the daily life of a Christian, particularly during the time of Lent and on the penitential day of Friday.
 
WHAT ARE THE ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS OF THE SACRAMENT OF RECONCILIATION?
The essential elements are two: the acts of the penitent who comes to repentance through the action of the Holy Spirit, and the absolution of the priest who in the name of Christ grants forgiveness and determines the ways of making satisfaction.
 
WHAT ARE THE ACTS OF THE PENITENT?
They are: a careful examination of conscience; contrition (or repentance), which is perfect when it is motivated by love of God and imperfect if it rests on other motives and which includes the determination not to sin again; confession, which consists in the telling of one’s sins to the priest; and satisfaction or the carrying out of certain acts of penance which the confessor imposes upon the penitent to repair the damage caused by sin.
 
WHICH SINS MUST BE CONFESSED? 
All grave (mortal) sins not yet confessed, which a careful examination of conscience brings to mind, must be brought to the sacrament of Penance. The confession of serious sins is the only ordinary way to obtain forgiveness.
 
WHEN IS A PERSON OBLIGED TO CONFESS MORTAL SINS?
Each of the faithful who has reached the age of discretion is bound to confess his or her mortal sins at least once a year and always before receiving Holy Communion. 

WHY CAN VENIAL SINS ALSO BE THE OBJECT OF SACRAMENTAL CONFESSION?
The confession of venial sins is strongly recommended by the Church, even if this is not strictly necessary, because it helps us to form a correct conscience and to fight against evil tendencies. It allows us to be healed by Christ and to progress in the life of the Spirit.
 
WHO IS THE MINISTER OF THIS SACRAMENT? 
Christ has entrusted the ministry of Reconciliation to his apostles, to the bishops who are their successors and to the priests who are the collaborators of the bishops, all of whom become thereby instruments of the mercy and justice of God. They exercise their power of forgiving sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
 
IS A CONFESSOR BOUND TO SECRECY?
Given the delicacy and greatness of this ministry and the respect due to people, every confessor, without any exception and under very severe penalties, is bound to maintain “the sacramental seal,” which means absolute secrecy about the sins revealed to him in confession.

WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF THIS SACRAMENT?

The effects of the sacrament of Penance are: reconciliation with God and therefore the forgiveness of sins; reconciliation with the Church; recovery, if it has been lost, of the state of grace; remission of the eternal punishment merited by mortal sins, and remission, at least in part, of the temporal punishment which is the consequence of sin; peace, serenity of conscience, and spiritual consolation; and an increase of spiritual strength for the struggle of Christian living.

EXAMINATION OF CONSCIENCE

  1. I am the Lord your God. You shall not have strange gods before me.
    Did I deny or doubt God’s existence? Did I refuse to believe God’s revelation?
    Do I give God time every day in prayer? Do I seek to love Him with my whole heart?
    Did I deny that I was a Catholic? Did I leave the Catholic faith?
    Have I been involved with superstitious practices or have I been involved with the occult?
    Do I seek to surrender myself to God’s word as taught by the Church?
    Have I ever received communion in the state of mortal sin?
    Have I ever deliberately told a lie in Confession or have I withheld a mortal sin from the priest in Confession?
    Are there other “gods” in my life? Money, Security, Power, People, etc.?
     
  2. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.
    Have I blasphemed God or used His name in vain?
    Have I wished evil upon any other person?
     
  3. Remember to keep holy the Lord’s Day.
    Have I missed Mass on Sundays or Holy Days of Obligation through my own fault?
    Have I tried to observe Sunday as a family day and a day of rest?
    Do I do needless physical work on Sunday?
    Am I always reverent in the presence of Jesus in the most Blessed Sacrament?
    Was I inattentive at Mass? Did I come to Mass late? Did I leave Mass early?
     
  4. Honor your father and your mother.
    Do I honor and obey my parents or legitimate superiors?
    Have I neglected my duties to my parents, spouse and children?
    Have I given my family good religious example?
    Do I try to bring peace into my home life?
    Do I care for my aged and infirm relatives?
     
  5. You shall not kill.
    Have I had an abortion or encouraged or helped anyone to have an abortion? Procuring an abortion sometimes incurs the penalty of excommunication. This should be addressed with your Priest during confession (Canon 1398).
    Have I physically harmed or killed anyone?
    Have I been a bad example, abused alcohol or drugs, or fought or quarreled?
    Did I give scandal to anyone, thereby leading him or her into sin?
    Have I been impatient, angry, envious, unkind, proud, jealous, resentful, hateful toward others, or lazy?
    Have I participated in or approved of euthanasia? Did I attempt suicide?
     
  6. You shall not commit adultery.
    Have I willfully entertained impure thoughts and desires? Did I dress immodestly?
    Did I deliberately look at impure things, TV, videos, plays, pictures or movies? Did I deliberately read impure material?
    Did I commit an impure act by myself or with another? Have I masterbated?
    Have I been faithful to my marriage vows?
    Have I used any method of birth control, or was I sterilized?
    Have I engaged in sins against human life, such as artificial insemination or in vitro fertilization?
    Have I respected all members of the opposite sex, or have I thought of other people as mere objects?
     
  7. You shall not steal.
    Have I stolen, cheated, or helped or encouraged others to steal or keep stolen goods? Have I made restitution for stolen goods?
    Do I waste time at work, school, and home?
    Do I gamble excessively, thereby denying my family of its needs?
    Do I pay my debts promptly? Cheated anyone out of what is justly theirs, like creditors, insurance companies, big corporations?
    Do I seek to share what I have with the poor?
     
  8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
    Did I tell lies or injure others by lies? Did I commit perjury?
    Was I uncharitable in word or deed?  Did I gossip or reveal others’ faults and sins? Did I fail to keep secrets I should have?
     
  9. You shall not desire your neighbor’s wife.
    Have I kept company with someone else’s spouse?
    Have I behaved in an inappropriate way with members of the opposite sex: flirting, being superficial, etc.?
     
  10. You shall not desire your neighbor’s goods.
    Am I jealous of what other people have?
    Am I greedy or selfish? Is attaining material possessions the purpose of my life?
     
  11. Other
    Did I eat meat on Fridays of Lent or Ash Wednesday?
    Did I fast as required on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday?
    Did I fail to receive Holy Communion during Easter time? Fail to confess at least once a year?
    Did I receive Holy Communion in the state of mortal sin or without fasting (water and medicine permitted) for one hour from food and drink before reception?
    Did I fail to contribute to the support of the Church?

ACT OF CONTRITION

O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended You, and I detest all my sins because of Your just punishments, but most of all because they offend You, my God, Who are all-good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Your grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasions of sin. Amen.

or


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. Amen.