Penance & Reconciliation
Christ’s love is shown in the fact that he seeks the lost and forgives us our sins. That is why he gave us the sacrament of reconciliation, in which we are freed from our failings and strengthened in our physical and spiritual weakness. This sacrament of penance is also called the sacrament of reconciliation, of forgiveness, of conversion, or of confession (cf. YOUCAT 225-226).
Jesus himself instituted the sacrament of penance when he showed himself to his apostles on Easter day and commanded them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained” (Jn 20:22a-23). God alone can forgive sins. Jesus could say “Your sins are forgiven” (Mk 2:5) only because he is the Son of God. And priests can forgive sins in Jesus’ place only because Jesus has given them that authority (Jn 20:21-23) (YOUCAT 227-228).
The sacrament of confession is offered in the parish at Saint Paul’s on Saturday mornings after the 8:30 Holy Mass and at 16:30 before the Saturday evening Mass. There are also special Penitential Services offered in the seasons of Advent and Lent, and a priest can always be approached by appointment.
Children would approach this sacrament through the junior catechism program at the local church, run throughout the school terms. First Confession is done normally in grade 3 (9 years old). To join the youth catechism program, a registration is normally done at the beginning of the year, however a parish catechist can be spoken to.