Christ instituted the sacraments of the new law. There are seven: Baptism, Confirmation (or
Chrismation), the Eucharist, Penance, the Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders and Matrimony. The
seven sacraments touch all the stages and all the important moments of Christian life:1 they
give birth and increase, healing and mission to the Christian's life of faith. There is thus a
certain resemblance between the stages of natural life and the stages of the spiritual life.
Sacrament of Penance
THE SACRAMENT OF PENANCE AND RECONCILIATION (THE SACRAMENTS OF HEALING)
"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." (CCC 1422)
It is called the sacrament of conversion because it makes sacramentally present Jesus' call to conversion, the first step in returning to the Father from whom one has strayed by sin. (CCC 1423)
- It is called the sacrament of Penance, since it consecrates the Christian sinner's personal and ecclesial steps of conversion, penance, and satisfaction.
- It is called the sacrament of confession, since the disclosure or confession of sins to a priest is an essential element of this sacrament. In a profound sense it is also a "confession" - acknowledgment and praise - of the holiness of God and of his mercy toward sinful man. (CCC 1424)
- It is called the sacrament of forgiveness, since by the priest's sacramental absolution God grants the penitent "pardon and peace."
- It is called the sacrament of Reconciliation, because it imparts to the sinner the live of God who reconciles: "Be reconciled to God."7 He who lives by God's merciful love is ready to respond to the Lord's call: "Go; first be reconciled to your brother."
What steps we have to follow to make a good confession
- After the priest greets you in the name of Christ, make the sign of the cross. He may choose to recite a reading from Scripture, after which you say: “Bless me Father for I have sinned. It has been (state how long) since my last confession. These are my sins.”
- Tell your sins simply and honestly. You might even want to discuss the circumstances and the root causes of your sins and asks the priest for advice or direction.
- Listen to the advice the priest gives you and accept the penance from him. Listen carefully and be certain you understand what penance you have been given. Then make an Act of Contrition for your sins. (see the prayer below)
- The priest will then dismiss you with the words of praise: "Give thanks to the Lord for He is good. You respond: “For His mercy endures forever.” The priest will then conclude with: “The Lord has freed you from your sins. Go in peace." And you respond by saying: “Thanks be to God.”
- Spend some time with Our Lord thanking and praising Him for the gift of His mercy. Try to perform your penance as soon as possible.
Act of Contrition
I am sorry for my sins with all my heart.
In choosing to do wrong
and failing to do good,
I have sinned against you
whom I should love above all things.
I firmly intend, with your help,
to do penance,
to sin no more,
and to avoid whatever leads me to sin.
Our Savior Jesus Christ
suffered and died for us.
In his name, my God, have mercy.
The English translation of the Act of Contrition from Rite of Penance © 1974, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. (ICEL). All rights reserved.
Confessions are offered every Saturday at 3:00 pm or by appointment. There is no scheduled time for confession on Sundays.
Learn more about the Sacrament of Penance in Hartford, Connecticut, with our Parish.