Sacrament of Penance (Reconciliation)

Sacrament of Penance during Lent

A Lenten Penitential Service will take place on Thursday, 18 March at 7.30 pm at Our Holy Redeemer Church in Surrey Hills for pre-organised groups.  This service will take the form of Rite III, reconciliation for several penitents with general confession and absolution.  Booking essential.

Online booking

Individual Sacrament of Penance will take place at:-

  • Our Lady of Good Counsel Church – before Saturday evening Mass
  • All Hallows Church – Tuesday and Thursday upon request
  • Our Lady of Victories Basilica – Saturday commencing at 10.00 am

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.

During this sacrament, a Catholic confesses his/her sins to a priest in the spirit of true repentance and receives forgiveness. The priest acts as a visible representative of Christ, who forgives sins through Him, when he says the words of absolution: ‘I absolve you of your sins in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit’.

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 free us from our sins, but it also challenges us to have the same kind of compassion and forgiveness for those who sin against us. 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 Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish Primary School, 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 Primary School, on Fridays, unless otherwise stated.

The Sacrament of Reconciliation will be celebrated at:

  • Camberwell, Balwyn & Deepdene Parishes on Tuesday, 23 March 2021
  • Surrey Hills Wattle Park Parish on Thursday, 25 March 2021

If you wish to arrange for your child to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation for the first time, please complete the Reconciliation Registration Form.  If you have any questions or wish to discuss the arrangements, please contact the Parish Office on 03 9816 9291 or email

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 repentence.  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 commual 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

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