Given that sin destroys our relationship with God and undermines our relationship with other human beings, reconciliation designates that precise effect of Christ’s redemption of the human race that restores our relationship with God and our human fellowship.
Christ breaks down the barriers that sin raises between us and God, and within the human community. Our conversion from sin and reception of divine mercy are continually renewed by confession. Serious sin separates us from the body of the Church and sacramental penance reconciles us with God and the community of his people.
The sacrament is also referred to as the sacrament of penance of confession. The sacrament is celebrated at our two parishes by appointment only and during special regional services throughout the seasons of Advent and Lent. Appointments for reconciliation can be made by contacting the Parish Office at 724-523-2560.
The Forgiveness of Sins
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.
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.
Act of Contrition
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 offend 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, do penance, and to amend my life. Amen.