The Sacrament of Reconciliation is one of the most unique and beautiful aspects of Catholicism. None of us is perfect. Each of us fail in our daily lives in some way. By these sins we reject the perfect love of God for us, demonstrated by Jesus Christ, who offered himself in the Eucharist and on the cross, giving his life for us.
We reject him by our sins and we are called to be reconciled to God through his love for us. Jesus Christ, in his abundant love and mercy for us, instituted the Sacrament of Reconciliation (also called Confession) on his day of resurrection.
If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any they are retainedJesus Christ, Gospel of John, chapter 20 verse 23
He did this so that we, as sinners, could ask for God’s forgiveness and receive it, and so be reunited with God and his Church.
Sins and the Early Church
In the very early Christian Church many people would avoid being baptised until they were on their deathbeds. The belief was that their sins could only be forgiven at their baptism, which was a one-time event. It took until the third century for the Sacrament of Reconciliation to emerge in a form that we might recognise today.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation Today
Today we meet, in the presence of the priest, the loving Jesus who offers sinners forgiveness for offences committed against God and our neighbour. This is the Sacrament of Reconciliation, because it conveys to the sinner the love of God.
In the past the sacrament usually took place in a small, closed space, with the person seeking Confession being separated from the priest by an opaque screen, to ensure privacy and sanctuary. Today it may be celebrated in the open, face to face with the priest, but still preserving the complete confidentiality that anything said will not be divulged to anyone else. Sometimes it will be part of a larger Service of Reconciliation, with individual confession being offered by a priest, or priests, during the service.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation at St Mary’s
At St Mary’s, the sacrament is usually available as individual confession on Friday evenings between 6:00pm and 6:30pm, Saturday mornings between 10:30am – 11am, or other times as announced.
Please see the What’s On guide for upto date timings.