St. Mary's Saturday 3:00 PM
AT SAINT MARY’S CHURCH
THEOLOGY OF THE SACRAMENT OF PENANCE/RECONCILIATION:
WHAT THE CHURCH TEACHES
In this Sacrament, the sinner is reconciled to God and the Church through a process which includes the confession of sins, sorrow and firm purpose of amendment, the pardon and peace of God through the absolution of the priest, the prayers of the Church, and the penitent’s penance and lived conversion.
Reconciliation is a sacramental action by which Christ reestablishes the union, originally created through Baptism, of a member of the Church.
This moment of reinitiation into the communion of the Church is a time of great celebration, for one lost to sin is now found and able to join in Eucharist.
PASTORAL PRINCIPLES GOVERNING THE SACRAMENT OF PENANCE/RECONCILIATION:
WHAT THE CHURCH PRACTICES:
1. The Sacrament of Penance/Reconciliation is always available to the baptized person when properly disposed to receive it.
2. The forgiveness of sin takes place in accordance with the church’s Rite of Penance, as revised by the Second Vatican Council, which ordinarily takes two forms:
(1) confession of individual penitents;
(2) communal service with individual confessions
3. In the Communal Rite the local community (parish) gathers as penitents to pray, ask forgiveness, listen to the Gospel message and its teachings, privately confess sin and celebrate the reconciliation of the community which is expressed in the Eucharist.
4. The local Church (parish) provides proper catechesis and liturgical celebration so that the process of conversion to Christ and His Gospel, begun in Baptism and reestablished through Penance/Reconciliation, may be ongoing.
5. Persons preparing to receive Eucharist for the first time must celebrate, prior to first reception of Eucharist, the Sacrament of Penance/Reconciliation.
6. Persons undergoing catechesis for the Sacrament of Penance/Reconciliation should be of the age of reason (at least seven years old) and have a spiritual maturity which enables them to come to an understanding of God’s forgiving love as enacted in the Sacrament of penance/Reconciliation. The judgment of a child’s proper disposition rests with the pastor and the Director of Religious Education in consultation with the parents.
7. Where children are being catechized for reception of Penance/ Reconciliation, the lived-faith of the parents, as an example and support to the children, is often in need of catechesis. This catechesis is arranged to coincide with that of the child.
8. Parents presenting their child for the Sacrament of Penance/Reconciliation should be active members of the local community (parish) especially as that community celebrates Sunday Eucharist and Communal Penance/ Reconciliation (during Advent and Lent) and as it reaches out to the needy.
PARISH POLICIES REGARDING THE SACRAMENT OF PENANCE/RECONCILIATION:
WHAT ST. MARY’S CHURCH REQUIRES:
1. Every baptized Catholic properly disposed is welcomed to the Sacrament of Penance/Reconciliation.
2. In special situations, as when an adult has been away from the sacraments for a long time, the priest meets with the penitent to determine the penitent’s disposition and to give proper catechesis. This catechesis, especially, allows the penitent time for the review of life and conversion so indispensable to a worthy celebration for the sacrament (confession), and brings an understanding of the Church’s desire for the penitent to once more receive the Eucharist.
3. In the case of young children, catechesis for First Penance/Reconciliation takes place at our Catholic Schools and our School of Religious Education for public school children. It includes doctrine (especially the procedure and prayers of confession), Sunday worship, the example of parents, and the experience of Christian family life. This catechesis usually takes two or more years, although length of years cannot determine the spiritual maturity required for this sacrament. It provides for the continual spiritual growth of the child through its presentation of God’s forgiving and saving love in Christ, experienced in the Sacrament of Penance/Reconciliation.
4. To determine the effectiveness of the catechesis and the readiness of the child, an interview, scheduled prior to the parish celebration of First Penance/ Reconciliation, is arranged with parents and child. During this interview the catechist speaks to the child so as to determine the child’s knowledge and understanding of the sacrament:
—-What is the Sacrament of Reconciliation?
—-How do we go to confession (the formula/prayers)?
—-Why do we go to confession?
—-What does God say to us when we celebrate Reconciliation?
A child deemed unprepared for the celebration is given further assistance by both family and catechist until he/she is judged to be ready by the pastor and the Director of Religious Education in collaboration with the parents.
5. A parents meeting is an important part of the catechesis for the preparation of young children for the Sacrament of Penance/Reconciliation. This meeting provides parents with an opportunity to renew their own sacramental life in the church, as well as to receive a renewed understanding of the practical information about the sacrament itself. More specifically, parents of children who are preparing for First Penance/Reconciliation are encouraged to join the parish celebration of Penance/Reconciliation during Advent and Lent. Our pastor is available for the private confession of parents at any time, and is especially eager to assist parents who are canonically hindered from receiving the sacrament.
6. Our parish community celebrates this sacrament weekly (individual confessions) and seasonally (communal celebration with individual confessions during Advent and Lent).
7. Our parish community supports the penitent:
—-through the general intercessions at Mass;
—-through special prayers for the children during their preparation time for First Penance/Reconciliation;
—-through the example of personal forgiveness;
—-through our endeavors to reach out to those in need.
THE RITE OF PENANCE
The Rite of Reconciliation of Individual Penitents
1. RECEPTION OF THE PENITENT
The penitent should prepare for the cele- bration of the sacrament by prayer, reading of Scripture, and silent reflection. The peni- tent should think over and should regret all sins since the last celebration of the sacrament.
Priest and Penitent: The priest and penitent begin by making the Sign of the Cross and saying together: IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER, AND OF THE SON, AND OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. AMEN.
Priest: Grace, Mercy and peace from God our Fa- ther and the Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
Penitent: AND ALSO WITH YOU.
2. READING THE WORD OF GOD
The penitent listens to a text of Scripture which tells about God’s merciful love and call to conversion.
Priest: Let us listen to the Lord as he speaks to us: “It is precisely in this that God proves his love for us: that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Roman 5:8)
3. CONFESSION OF SINS
Penitent: BLESS ME, FATHER, I HAVE SINNED.
IT HAS BEEN (weeks/months/years)
SINCE MY LAST CONFESSION,
THESE ARE MY SINS.
(Tell you sins and conclude by saying):
I AM SORRY FOR THESE AND ALL MY SINS.
4. ACCEPTANCE OF PENANCE (SATISFACTION)
Priest: The priest now gives the penitent spiritual counseling and/or a penance and then says:
“Please pray an Act of Contrition.”
The penitent prays an Act of Contrition in these of similar words:
O MY GOD,
I AM VERY SORRY
FOR ALL MY SINS,
BECAUSE THEY DISPLEASE YOU
WHO ARE ALL GOOD
AND DESERVING OF ALL MY LOVE.
WITH YOU HELP,
I WILL SIN NO MORE. AMEN.
Priest: The priest imparts God’s forgiveness through the words of absolution to which the penitent listens.
“God, the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son has recon- ciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins; through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace, and I sbsolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
Penitent: The penitent makes the sign of the Cross and responds: AMEN.
5. PROCLAMATION OF PRAISE OF GOD AND DISMISSAL
Priest: Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
Penitent: HIS MERCIES ENDURES FOREVER.
Priest: Blessed are those whose sins have been forgiven. Go in peace.
Penitent: THANKS BE TO GOD.