The Sacrament of Penance reconciles us with God. The whole power of the Sacrament of Penance consists in restoring us to God’s grace and blessing and joining us with him in an intimate friendship. (CCC No. 1468)
Jesus himself said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven.’
In this way Jesus instituted the sacrament of reconciliation. Why do we need this sacrament? Can we not just go to God in prayer and ask for forgiveness? We can ask God for forgiveness as individuals. But we are also members of Christ’s Body, the Church. When we sin we sin not only against God but against the Church community. The priest represents not only Christ but also the Church community. When he says the words of absolution, the sinner is reconciled not only with God but with the whole Church community.
In preparation for the celebration of the sacrament, we need to examine our conscience and honestly facr up to our wrong-doing. There must also be a genuine desire to amend our lives and a resolution not to sin again. Once we have confessed our sins, the priest requires us to carry our a penance that will help us grow in faith, hope and charity.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation is normally available after 10.00 am and 7.30pm Masses on weekdays. There is a station of confession from 7.00 pm until 7.30 pm each Friday evening and a station of confession from 12.00 noon to 1.00 pm every Saturday. There are two Penitential services in the course of the year, one before Christmas and one before Easter.