Our Catholic Church treasures the Sacrament of Reconciliation. St. Patrick’s offers regular Reconciliation times three times each week throughout the year. Additional times are offered during Advent and Lent. Our parish schedule of confession times is listed above or you may call for an appointment at the rectory.
If you would like to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation, here’s what to do:
Prepare. Prayerfully recall your sins. Some will be specific actions. Some represent a more general pattern of behavior.
Go to the priest. Visit during a regular confession time or schedule an appointment. You may either kneel anonymously behind a screen or sit in a chair and speak face to face.
Be welcome. You and the priest may greet each other. Make a Sign of the Cross. He may urge you to have confidence in God. You may indicate the interval since your last confession or anything else that will help. Just use common sense.
Confess your sins. Some penitents begin with a formula like, "Bless me, Father, for I have sinned." But you don’t have to. Let the priest know your sins. You may discuss the sins you confess so that the priest can give you the best counsel.
Receive a penance. The priest will recommend some action after you leave to indicate to God the sincerity in your heart. Usually he suggests prayer or self-denial. If it sounds difficult, let him know.
Pray for forgiveness. The priest may invite you to say a prayer of sorrow aloud. If you remember the Act of Contrition, you may use it. But you may also speak simply from your heart. One form of the Act of Contrition is:
My God, 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.
Lord Jesus, Son of God,
have mercy on me a sinner.
Receive absolution. This is the best part. The priest proclaims absolution, and God forgives your sins. The prayer of absolution (said by the priest):
God the Father of mercies,
through the death and resurrection of his Son
has reconciled 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 absolve you from your sins
in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Conclude. The priest may say, “Give thanks to the Lord for he is is good.” If so, answer, “His mercy endures forever.” Or he may conclude informally.
Change! Go forth, and with God’s help, begin to live a new life of freedom from the slavery of sin!
An Examination of Conscience: some thoughts on examination of conscience for adults
For too long we have looked at examination of conscience as a mere exertion of effort necessary to come up with a grocery list of sins. Rather, it should be part of the rhythm of our daily lives on our way toward maturity. It is not so much looking at the things we do, but rather, at the person who does them. Each of us is a relational and responsible person, and it is within this context that we grow further toward or away from our goal - Christ.
Think of yourself as a person
- Do you accept yourself with your good and bad points? Do you share yourself with others?
- Do you realize you have been called by, loved by God in a unique way?
- Do you treat others with dignity and respect? Do you use your sexuality irresponsibly or selfishly?
- Do you exploit others for your own pleasure?
Think of yourself as a husband or wife
- Do you strive for understanding and communication with your spouse in order to be one spirit as planned by God?
Think of yourself as a father or mother
- Do you give your children yourself, your time, your abilities?
- Do you correct them when they are wrong, praise them when you should, instruct them with gentleness and patience?
- Are you aware of your responsibility to guide them in the faith by your words and actions?
- Do you apologize and admit when you’re wrong and they’ve been right?
Think of yourself as an adult child
- Do you realize that the command to “honor your father and mother” applies to you (as it does to your children) if you are blessed to still have your parents?
Think of yourself as a neighbor
- Do you realize that your neighbor is your brother and sister?
- Do you try to be helpful when you know there is a need?
- Do you respect your neighbor’s rights and allow them to be persons?
- Do you make judgments about people based on their appearance or color?
- Do you harbor prejudice in your heart?
Think of yourself as an employee, as an employer
- Do you give your employer all of your time during the hours he is paying you, realizing that “stealing time” is the same as stealing?
- Do you give your employer your full efforts and concentration during working hours?
- Do I pay a just wage? Do I provide adequate working conditions?
Think of yourself as a member of the world community of the family of God
- Do you sufficiently reflect on the responsibility you have to be concerned about the other members of this family who are suffering from poverty, prejudice, unfair labor practices, unjust housing laws, and other various causes?
- Do you take it as a responsibility to consider the morality involved in issues like abortion, euthanasia, denial of rights to migrant workers, corruption in political or economic structures?
- Do you take it as your responsibility to be informed about current events and to listen with open minds and hearts to those holding different positions?
Think of yourself in direct relationship with God
- Do you make the effort to spend some time with Him each day, even if it’s just to say “good morning” or “thanks?”
- Do you seek to know Him better in whatever way suits you best?
- Do you allow Him to give Himself often to you in the gifts of His sacraments of Eucharist and Penance?