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The Sacrament of Penance is also known as the ‘Sacrament of Reconciliation’ or traditionally called ‘Confession’. It is the rite by which sins are confessed and forgiven. Sin is failure to recognise and love God in the way we think or act. Sin is also not just a failure to love God directly but also a failure to love one another. This is referred to as “the community sense of sin”.


St Joseph’s Church, Springhill: First Saturday 9:30-10:00am, or by prior arrangement

Reconciliation services are held in Advent and Lent when several priests are available to facilitate individual confession for large numbers. Information on these will be available in the parish newsletter.


Forms Of Celebration

The sacrament can be celebrated in a one-to-one encounter with a priest: this is known as ‘individual confession’.

Reconciliation services are held in Advent and Lent when several priests are available to facilitate individual confession for large numbers. In this form of celebration, which is communal, people prepare as a community and many priests hear the confessions individually and people receive absolution individually.

Act of Sorrow (Contrition)

Two suggested forms:

  1. O my God, I am sorry for all my sins because they offend you who are so good and, with your help I will not sin again. Amen
  2. O my God, I thank you for loving me I am sorry for all my sins, for not loving others and not loving you. Help me to live like Jesus and not to sin again. Amen



In this sacrament people are forgiven their sins by the words and actions of the priest. We call this ‘Absolution’. The priest represents God and the community who is affected by sin and the priest ministers forgiveness on behalf of God and the community.


Penance is a sign of sorrow and a commitment to try to make amends. It is also a sign of our sincerity to change our lives. This is what is meant by conversion. When the Sacrament is a communal celebration, the penance is said as a community, once all have had the opportunity to confess. When celebrated in the traditional one-to-one form, a penance is given and the person takes on that penance privately.


Any person who has been baptised and prepared appropriately can celebrate this sacrament.

How to go to Confession?

    1. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
    2. It is ———— months/years since my last Confession.
    3. These are my sins……*
    4. The priests suggests a penance which may be a prayer or an act of charity (the purpose of this penance is to underline the seriousness of our Confession and our resolve – with God’s grace – not to sin again.
    5. Act of Sorrow
    6. Priest gives the absolution and says: ‘Go in peace’. The response is: ‘Thanks be to God’


Preparing for Confession

The Sacrament of Reconciliation (or Confession) is one of the great gifts of the Catholic Church. To get the most from this sacrament it is essential to prepare well. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is above all an act of God’s love; it is a personal moment in a relationship of love with God. It is not a routine to be gone through but very much part of the personal renewal that takes place in each person, especially at Christmas and Easter.

We are invited in the light of God’s love:

  • to recognise the sinfulness of our life
  • to have a true sorrow for our sins
  • a firm intention to avoid them in the future

These elements are essential to a proper and meaningful celebration of the Sacrament.


Sin is not merely a series of failures. It is also a sharing in what is really negative and sometimes evil:

  • unbelief, indifference, selfishness
  • violence, contempt for the weak, eroticism
  • racism, neglect of the poor
  • greed, wastefulness
  • pride and a sense of superiority


Every sin, in one way or another, has a community dimension. It is something which tarnishes the Body of Christ, the Christian Community.

Every sin ought to arouse in us feelings of humble regret and a confident request for pardon.


 Jesus said: ‘You will love the Lord your God with all your heart…’

  • Is my heart set on God, so that I really love him above all things?
  • Am I open to his presence?
  • Do I listen to the his Word in the readings? To the teaching of the Church?
  • What place has prayer in my life?
  • Is the Eucharist (Mass) the centre of my Christian life?
  • Do I attend Mass on Sundays and Holydays of Obligation?
  • Do I allow the Lord to be the Lord, or do I try to be the Lord myself?
  • Do I cling to my will, my wants, my ways?
  • Have I love and reverence for the name of God?
  • Am I ashamed to witness to my faith in God in my daily life?
  • Do I rebel against taking up the Cross in my life?
  • Do I turn to God only when I am in need?

Jesus said: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself…’

  • Have I a genuine love for my neighbour?
  • Am I well-disposed, able to forgive offences?
  • Do I judge without mercy thought and word?
  • Do I speak ill of other? Do I slander?
  • Am I intolerent, envious, hot-tempered?
  • Do I take care of the poor, the sick, the defenceless?
  • Am I sincere and honest in my dealings with others?
  • Have I been the cause of another’s committing sin?
  • In my family life, have I contributed to the well-being and happiness of the rest of the family by patience and genuine love?
  • Do I exercise responsible parenthood according to the teachings of the Church?
  • Do I care for and respect the environment in which I live?
  • Do I seek the well-being of others?
  • Do I think enough about those who are less fortunate?
  • Am I a spectator before people’s problems, or do I help?
  • Do I despise those of another creed, colour or opinion?
  • Am I respectful of other people’s property?
  • Have I abused someone’s property or stolen another’s goods?
  • Do I forgive those who sin against me?
  • Do I do my duty as a citizen?


Jesus said: ‘Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect’

  • Do I truly live as a Christian and give good example to others?
  • Have I gone against my conscience out of fear or hypocrisy?
  • Have I participated in things which offend both Christian and human decency?
  • Am I too concerned about myself, my health, my success?
  • Do I go to excess in matters of food and drink?
  • Have I kept my senses and my whole body pure and chaste as a temple of the Holy Spirit?
  • Do I bear grudges; do I contemplate revenge?
  • Do I share my possessions with the less fortunate?
  • Do I take offence too easily?
  • Do I use the gift of time well?
  • Am I able to forgive myself?
  • Do I try to be humble and bring peace?