Asking for forgiveness
“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)
The Sacrament of Penance is a liturgical action instituted by the Church for the reconciliation of sinners to communion with God and with the Church. Catholics are obliged to go to confession to receive the sacrament of penance at least once a year – usually during the Easter season – or whenever they are conscious of serious sin. Receiving this sacrament is encouraged at other times as a means of restoring full unity with God and His Church and for spiritual growth. The Sacrament of Penance is available at St Luke’s before Holy Mass and during Eucharistic Adoration. The Sacrament is also available by appointment through the Parish Office. During Advent and Lent, there will be extra sessions of Sacramental celebrations. Please check the bulletin during these periods of the year for times and places. Community Celebration and individual confession & absolution is held during Lent and Advent each year. Please check the bulletin during these periods of the year for times and places.
First Reconciliation for Children
The Sacrament of First Reconciliation is celebrated here at St Luke’s for Children aged 7+ (or Year 2 or above) who have been baptised. First Reconciliation dates are organised at the beginning of each year in collaboration with St Luke’s Primary School. Please Contact the Parish Office to learn more about Reconciliation in our Parish. Here are some answers to common questions about Reconciliation that will help you better understand this significant act of faith. Please click on the link HERE.
Confession begins with the:
(1) Sign of the Cross and the penitent greeting the priest with the words,
(2) “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. My last confession was ….” (weeks, months, years).
(3) The penitent confesses sins to the priest, who stands in the name of Christ and the Church. The priest will help you make a good confession. If you are unsure or uneasy, ask the priest to help. Place your trust in God, a merciful Father who wants to forgive you.
(4) Following the confession of sins, say, “This is all I can remember. I am sorry for these and all my sins.”
(5) The priest will assign you a penance. The penance takes into account your personal situation and supports your spiritual good. It may be a prayer, an offering, works of mercy, service, or sacrifice; whatever the penance, the individual is joined in some way to Christ and the cross.
(6) The penitent will then pray an Act of Contrition. This prayer expresses true sorrow for the sins confessed. This prayer may be expressed in one’s own words or one may use one of the formal prayers of sorrow.
(7) The priest, acting in the person of Christ, will absolve you from your sins by saying the prayer of Absolution.
(8) As the prayer is ending, the penitent makes the Sign of the Cross and responds, “Amen.”
(9) The priest will express some words of praise and blessing.
(10) The penitent leaves, completing the assigned penance.
Act of Contrition
O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended you, and I detest all my sins not because of your just punishment, but most of all because they offend you, my God, who is 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 occasion of sin. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
O, My God, I am very sorry that I have sinned against you because you are so good, and with your grace, I will try not to sin again.
FAQ about the Sacrament of Reconciliation
What is the Sacrament of Reconciliation?
The Sacrament of Reconciliation, or Confession, is a sacrament instituted by Jesus Christ providing a means for those who fall into sin after Baptism to be restored into God’s grace. It involves the admission of one’s sins made to a duly approved Priest in order toobtain Absolution. It is one of the most unique and beautiful aspects of Catholicism. Jesus Christ, in His abundant love and mercy, established this sacrament, so that we as sinners can obtain forgiveness for our sins and reconcile with God and the Church. The sacrament “washes us clean,” and renews us in Christ. “Jesus said to them again, ‘Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.’ And when he had said this, he breathed on them, 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 20:21-23).
What is Sin?
We are profoundly loved by God, a love that is unconditional. God has given us life, and, through baptism, called us into union with Christ and with each other.
Sin can be seen as a rejection of God’s love, as a refusal of an opportunity to accept his love and pass it on to others. And while many people would make the claim that “they don’t do anything wrong,” think about the things we have done that fail to develop us as persons, that fail to assist others. the can be the cause of hurt or pain to ourselves or another. Many of our personal failings could be named “sin” because they stand in the way of our becoming all that God has called us to be.
Sin is often referred to as a disorder or sickness. There are occasions when we are seriously ill, and other times when we have a cold. So, too, sin can be serious (mortal) or less threatening (venial). The connection between health and holiness and wholeness is helpful in discovering sin in my life. Where are those places, those areas, those situations that “simply do not feel right?” Where are those places where I could have done something, but choose to do nothing?
Sin is a personal act, in that it affects the individual person created in the image and likeness of God. Our participation is collective wrong doing gives rise to “social sin” — sin that gives rise to social situation and institutions contrary to the very nature of God.
How will I go about the business of healing and wholeness. Our God’s mercy is everlasting and knows no limits.
What is a serious sin?
Serious sin cuts us off from the very place where we can experience the life of Christ—the Church. The sacrament of penance, then, becomes the way of renewing our baptismal dedication and dignity. It becomes the opportunity to restore baptismal innocence— an innocence that has been marred by sin.
What is a Conversion and Contrition?
CONVERSION means a turning around, a changing direction, doing a complete reversal of a former way. It is the light of the glory of Christ that calls us to change our hearts, to radically conform our living to the life of Christ.
The most important act of the penitent in the celebration of the sacrament of penance is CONTRITION, which is heartfelt sorrow and aversion for the sin committed, along with the intention of sinning no more. We can only approach the kingdom of Christ by metanoia, or conversion. This is a profound change of the whole person by which one begins to consider, judge, and arrange his or her life according to the holiness and the love of God, made manifest in Jesus Christ. The genuineness of penance depends on this heartfelt contrition. For conversion should affect a person from within so that it may progressively enlighten him or her and render the person more like Christ.
What is confession?
The sacrament of confession/penance includes the confession of sins, which comes from true knowledge of self before God and from contrition for those sins. However, this inner examination of heart and the exterior accusation should be made in the light of God’s mercy. Confession requires in the penitent the will to open his or her heart to the minister of God, and in the minister a spiritual judgment by which acting in the person of Christ, he pronounces the forgiveness of sins.
The conversion is completed by acts of penance or satisfaction for the sins committed, by amendment of conduct, and also by the reparation of injury. The kind and extent of the satisfaction should be suited to the personal condition of each penitent so that each one may restore the order which he or she disturbed through sin and through the corresponding remedy be cured of the sickness from which he or she suffered. Thus the penitent, forgetting the things which are past, again becomes part of the mystery of salvation and turns toward the future filled with hope.
What is absolution?
Through the sign of absolution, God grants pardon to the sinner who in sacramental confession manifests a change of heart to the church’s minister. In God’s design the humanity and loving kindness of our Savior have visibly appeared to us, and God uses visible signs to give salvation and to renew the broken covenant.
Why should I go to confession?
If you haven’t been to Confession in a while, the Catholic Church wants to welcome you back, and invites you to participate in this beautiful sacrament of healing. Take a step in faith. You’ll be surprised about how free you feel after taking part in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. So many Catholics describe incredible feelings of peace, joy, relief, and love that they never expected. Jesus is calling you to experience His mercy in this way too.
Is catholic penance necessary for salvation?
Passages from the Catechism of the Catholic Church to consider:
- “The sacrament of Penance is necessary for salvation for this who have fallen after Baptism” (CCC 980)
- “the Church possesses the power to forgive the sins of the baptised and exercises it through bishops and priests normally in the sacrament of Penance” (CCC 986)
- “In the forgiveness of sins, both priests and sacraments are instruments through which our Lord Jesus Christ, the only author and liberal giver of salvation, wills to use in order to efface our sins and give us the grace of justification” (CCC 987)
- “those who, since Baptism, have fallen into grave sin and have thus lost their baptismal grace… the Sacrament of Penance offers a new possibility to convert and recover the grace of justification.” (CCC 1446)
- “When it arises from a love by which God is loved above all else, contrition is called ‘perfect’ (contrition of charity). Such contrition remits venial sins; it also obtains forgiveness of mortal sins if it includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramental confession as soon as possible.” (CCC 1452)
- Each faithful of right discerning age is “bound by an obligation faithfully to confess serious sins at least once a year.” (CCC 1457) Some might be tempted to just do the minimum. The Church allows it at one per year after all. But diligent selfexamination will reveal that almost each one of us, if not all, actually sin several times – making a yearly Confession simply not enough.
Why do I confess my sins to a priest?
As the Catechism of the Catholic Church points out, our faith in the forgiveness of sins is tied to faith in the Holy Spirit and the Church: “It was when he gave the Holy Spirit to his apostles that the risen Christ conferred on them His own divine power to forgive sins: ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained’”( 976; cf. John 20:22-23).
How often should I go to confession?
Catholics are required to receive the Sacrament at least once per year. However, if you are aware of having committed any mortal (serious) sin, you should receive the Sacrament. That being said, all are encouraged to take advantage of the Sacrament on a regular and frequent basis. Frequent reception helps us keep aware of our spiritual progress and provides the grace to overcome our sins.
Can I receive communion without going to confession?
When you receive the Eucharist you affirm that you are in a state of grace, reconciled with God and the Church. Since the Sacrament of Confession provides that reconciliation, if you are in a state of mortal sin you must abstain from receiving the Eucharist until you go to Confession. A mortal sin consists of a serious action through which a person turns away from God’s law and charity, fully understands it is wrong and chooses to commit it freely.
If you have committed venial sins, you may still receive the Eucharist. Venial sins are sins which wound our relationship with God, but consist of less serious matters than mortal sins or are performed without full knowledge or consent. Penitents are encouraged to confess venial sins regularly, since the repetition of these sins can lead to more serious sin.
Please contact the Parish Office to learn more or email