Sacrament of Penance (Reconciliation)

About this Sacrament

The Sacrament of Penance, also known as the Sacrament of Reconciliation, is often referred to as Confession. These titles are all aspects of the meaning of the sacrament.

The Sacrament of Penance is a celebration of God’s love and mercy.  It celebrates the call to repentance after a process of conversion of heart.  During this sacrament, a Catholic confesses his/her sins in the spirit of true repentance and receives forgiveness of God through the ministry of the priest.

In the Catholic Tradition, the Sacrament of Penance is seen within the context of conversion from sin and a turn to God. Importantly, the sacrament is intended as an experience of God’s boundless mercy.  Not only does the sacrament reconcile us with God, it also reconciles us with the Church, repairing or restoring the damage our sins have done to our communion with others.  The sacrament challenges us to have the same kind of compassion and forgiveness for others. We obtain new insight into the words of the Prayer of St. Francis: ‘It is in pardoning that we are pardoned’.

First Reconciliation for School-aged Children

Children preparing to receive the Sacrament of Penance for the first time are usually in Year 3 of their primary school education, though this can vary.

For children attending one of our three Parish Primary Schools of Our Lady of Good Counsel School, Deepdene, Our Holy Redeemer School, Surrey Hills and Our Lady of Perpetual Succour School, Wattle Park, their preparation for this sacrament occurs within the school’s Religious Education Program.

For those attending other local schools, they are invited to attend an after-school Sacraments Program under the guidance of our Parishes Catechists Team. Classes are conducted over a six-week period at Our Lady of Good Counsel, Deepdene and Our Holy Redeemer, Surrey Hills.

Reconciliation Rites

There are three forms or ‘Rites’ for receiving the Sacrament of Penance. These are:

Reconciliation for Individual Penitents (Rite I)

In most churches there is a reconciliation room in which the person’s sins are forgiven. This room allows individuals to speak to a priest freely and privately, to recite prayers of contrition and to hear and receive God’s forgiveness.

Reconciliation for Several Penitents with individual confession and absolution (Rite II)

Many parishes provide opportunities for people to experience the sacrament of as part of a communal celebration.  This form of the Rite begins with a celebration of the Word – readings from scripture, hymns prayers, a homily and an examination of conscience, followed by a call to repentance.  Private confession and reconciliation follow.  The Rite concludes with a short thanksgiving, and a blessing and dismissal of the gathered assembly.

Reconciliation for Several Penitents with general confession and absolution (Rite III)

This form of the Rite follows the same pattern as Rite II, but does not include individual confessional and reconciliation.  It includes a communal prayer of confession and general absolution.  The use of this form is restricted to special circumstances where there is no opportunity for individual confession.

Our Parishes’ Celebrations of the Sacrament of Penance

Our Lady of Good Counsel Church
Prior to Saturday evening Mass
All Hallows Church
Tuesday and Thursday upon request
Basilica of Our Lady of Victories
Saturday commencing at 10.00 am and other times as periodically announced.

Communal celebrations of the Sacrament of Penance (the Second Rite of Reconciliation) occur periodically and are announced via the weekly Parish Newsletter.

Further Information, contact the Parish Office on 9816 9291 or at cbdparish@cam.org.au

To learn more about the ways children are prepared to receive the sacraments, please visit Sacraments Programs for Children.