“Those who approach the sacrament of Penance obtain pardon from God’s mercy for the offense committed against him, and are, at the same time, reconciled with the Church which they have wounded by their sins and which by charity, by example, and by prayer labors for their conversion” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1422)
This sacrament is known by several names, including Confession, Penance, and Reconciliation. Each of these names highlights a particular aspect of the sacrament, but the sacrament itself is the same. This sacrament conveys the grace of God’s mercy and forgiveness to the penitent, and reconciles the sinner with both God and the Church.
The current Confession schedule at St. Mary’s parish can be found at right. You may also call the parish office to schedule an appointment at a time convenient for you.
Resources from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops
If it has been a while since your last confession, you may find this simple guide from the US Bishops helpful.
“The reception of this sacrament ought to be prepared for by an examination of conscience made in the light of the Word of God. The passages best suited to this can be found in the Ten Commandments, the moral catechesis of the Gospels and the apostolic Letters, such as the Sermon on the Mount and the apostolic teachings” (CCC 1454).
- Examination of Conscience Based on the Ten Commandments
- Examination of Conscience for Children
- Examination of Conscience for Young Adults
- Examination of Conscience for Single People
- Examination of Conscience for Married People
How Often Should One Go to Confession?
The minimum answer is “once per year.”
“[A]fter having attained the age of discretion, each of the faithful is bound by an obligation faithfully to confess serious sins at least once a year. Anyone who is aware of having committed a mortal sin must not receive Holy Communion, even if he experiences deep contrition, without having first received sacramental absolution, unless he has a grave reason for receiving Communion and there is no possibility of going to confession. Children must go to the sacrament of Penance before receiving Holy Communion for the first time” (CCC 1457).
But to grow in grace and advance in the spiritual life, more often is recommended.
“Without being strictly necessary, confession of everyday faults (venial sins) is nevertheless strongly recommended by the Church. Indeed the regular confession of our venial sins helps us form our conscience, fight against evil tendencies, let ourselves be healed by Christ and progress in the life of the Spirit. By receiving more frequently through this sacrament the gift of the Father’s mercy, we are spurred to be merciful and he is merciful” (CCC 1458).
Most pastors entrusted with care of souls advise going to Confession once per month. More often may be necessary for those struggling with serious sin. Pope Francis reminds us that “God never grows tired of forgiving us; we are the ones who tire of seeking his mercy” (The Joy of the Gospel).