The Sacrament of Reconciliation
The Sacrament of Reconciliation is offered on Sundays, before and after the Masses (English – 9:30am and Spanish – 12:00pm). You may also make an appointment by calling Father O’Connor at (518) 588-2531.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation brings about a change of heart through God’s mercy and forgiveness. Reconciliation (also known as Confession or Penance) is a sacrament instituted by Jesus Christ in His love and mercy to offer sinners forgiveness for offenses committed against God. Some people consider the sacrament of Reconciliation a process of healing within it own consciousness, guided by the divine mercy.
Every time we sin, we hurt ourselves, other people and God. It is in Reconciliation that we acknowledge our sins before God and His Church (Confession). Then, we express our sorrow in a meaningful way (Contrition), and later we receive the forgiveness of Christ and His Church (Absolution). Finally, we make a process of reparation for what we have done and resolve to do better in the future (Penance).
As pointed out before, the forgiveness of sins involves four parts:
- Contrition: a sincere sorrow for having offended God, and the most important act of the penitent. There can be no forgiveness of sin if we do not have sorrow and a firm resolve not to repeat our sin.
- Confession: confronting our sins in a profound way to God by speaking about them —aloud— to the priest.
- Penance: an important part of our healing is the “penance” the priest imposes in reparation for our sins.
- Absolution: the priest speaks the words by which “God, the Father of Mercies” reconciles a sinner to Himself through the merits of the Cross.
Preparation for Confession
The Sacrament of Reconciliation does require preparation.
- Begin with prayer. We should place ourselves in the presence of God who is loving and merciful.
- Review your life. Here you can use the the 10 Commandments or even questions about your relationship with God.
- Tell God how truly sorry you are for your sins.
- Make a firm resolution not to sin again.
Rite of Reconciliation
Reconciliation may be face-to-face or anonymous, with a screen between you and the priest. Choose the option that is the most comfortable for you.
- The priest gives you a blessing or greeting. He may share a brief Scripture passage.
- Make the Sign of the Cross and say: “Bless me father, for I have sinned. My last confession was…” (give the number of weeks, months or years).
- Confess all of your sins to the priest. The priest will help you to make a good confession. If you are unsure about how to confess or you feel uneasy, just ask him to help you. Answer his questions without hiding anything out of fear or shame. Place your trust in God, a merciful Father who wants to forgive you.
- Following your confession of sins, say: “I am sorry for these and all of my sins.”
- The priest assigns you a penance and offers advice to help you be a better Catholic.
- Say an Act of Contrition, expressing your sorrow for your sins. The priest, acting in the person of Christ, then absolves you from your sins.
Rejoice! You have received the forgiveness of Christ!
What should you do when you leave?
- Remember the words you recited in the Act of Contrition: “I firmly intend, with your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin.” Go and be an example of Jesus Christ to others.