Sacrament of Reconciliation
The Sacrament of Reconciliation or Confession is celebrated frequently in Saint John the Evangelist Parish. This is a private, one-to-one Sacrament celebrated by the priest. It is recommended that you try to avail yourself to this great and joyful Sacrament on a regular basis.
In our two Catholic Primary Schools of Saint John's and Saint Mark's, preparation for the Sacrament of Confession takes place in Primary 4 during Religious Education.
In accordance with the precepts of the Church you must go to confession and receive communion at least once a year, preferably around Holy Week/Eastertide. This is commonly referred to as one's Easter duty.
However, all Catholics should go to confession if they are in a state of mortal sin as soon as possible and as often as necessary. You should not receive Holy Communion if you are in the state of mortal sin.
Times for Confessions at Saint John the Evangelist are as follows:
Going to Confession
An essential part of confession is preparation. Before going to confession you should pray, asking God to help you, and make a sincere examination of conscience to see how you have sinned since your last confession. To aid an examination of conscience, you can use the Ten Commandments, or there are lists of questions and even smartphone apps.
In the Confessional
Begin by making the sign of the cross while saying:
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
Then you can speak in your own words or say:
Bless me Father for I have sinned. It has been (weeks, months, years?) since my last confession. Father I have...
In your own words, simply tell the priest your sins. Let the priest know when you have finished by saying:
I am sorry for these and all my other sins.
Listen carefully to what the priest has to say; he may ask for clarification or give you advice. He will then propose an Act of Penance which should serve not only to make up for your sins but also to help begin anew. Most often this will take the form of a prayer, but could also be an act of self-denial, service to others or works of mercy.
The priest will then invite you to say an Act of Contrition, such as:
O my God,
I am sorry for my sins
because I have offended you.
I know I should love you above all things.
Help me to do penance, to do better,
and to avoid anything that might lead me to sin.
Wait while the priest says the prayer of Absolution (where your sins are forgiven). Make the sign of the cross as the priest says:
I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.
Finally he may say a few words of encouragement as you leave. It is traditional, and polite, to say:
Thank you Father, God bless you Father.
Take some time in the quiet of the Church to reflect on the grace of the sacrament and to thank God for his mercy and forgiveness. If you have been given a prayer as an Act of Penance, now is the time to pray.