Sacrament of Penance (Reconciliation)

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’.

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.

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.

Further Information and/or Expressions of Interest
Refer to our web page, Sacraments Programs for Children, to learn more about the ways children are prepared to receive the sacraments. Alternatively:

  • Contact our Sacraments Coordinator, Sharon Freeman, at the Parish Office on 9816 9291 or at Sharon.Freeman@cam.org.au  To enrol your child in a preparation program, complete this registration form, Sacraments Program – First Reconciliation Registration.  Sharon will be in contact with you to discuss arrangements and requirements pertaining to the program.
  • To enrol your child in a preparation program, complete this registration form, Sacraments Program – First Reconciliation Registration. Sharon will be in contact with you to discuss arrangements and requirements pertaining to the program.