The Sacrament of Reconciliation
One of the greatest treasures of our Catholic Faith – Confession
(except holidays or Holy Days)
(except holidays or Holy Days)
Enter the building through Door 8 (SE Corner of the Faith Community Center). Confessionals have been set up in our Faith Community Center.
Reconciliation - The Examination of Conscience
Conscience is moral judgment, the ability to distinguish between right from wrong. A Catholic Christian’s conscience is formed by Jesus and his gospel and the Church and its teachings. Sin is a departure from what Jesus taught, particularly the Law of Love and the virtues. Anything contrary to love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control (Gal 5:22-23) is a sin.
It is a worthy goal for every Catholic Christian to be in the state of grace, washed clean of previous evildoing, and forgiven of one’s sins. Reconciliation is the sacramental way to receive God’s forgiveness, and an Examination of Conscience is the proper way to prepare for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Our conscience should be offended by sin, and the result ought to be guilt. Some people speak disparagingly of “Catholic guilt.” This is unfortunate. Guilt is not a curse, it is a blessing. Guilt means that a person knows the difference between right and wrong, and feels badly after doing something wrong. To not feel guilt after doing something wrong is “out of line,” to be a sociopath, someone who is so hardened to sin that an evil deed does not create inner turmoil. This is the essence of the criminal mind.
Good Christians are highly offended by their own sins, and work vigorously to eliminate all wrongful actions in their lives. One of the best ways to monitor sin is with a daily Examination of Conscience:
- Every evening sometime before bedtime, the person does an honest and humble review of the day to check for sins.
- The person first asks for the help of the Holy Spirit, and then conducts a careful review of the day, from morning to night, to go over one’s thoughts and deeds.
- Then the person tries, to the best of their ability, to name every sin, ask God for mercy and pardon, and promise to do better tomorrow.
- Then the person goes to sleep.
Ideally, the Examination of Conscience before the Sacrament of Reconciliation is built upon many previous exams that were conducted on a daily basis.
Unfortunately, this usually is not the case for most of us. Instead, we often fail to conduct a daily check for our sins, and we are not fully aware or remorseful for all the bad that we have done. Nevertheless, before approaching the Sacrament of Reconciliation, it is our spiritual duty to do a sweeping check for all past sins, not simply over the past day, but over the entire time since our last confession, and to take special note of all serious or mortal sins. Then, with our sins in mind, with great faith, to approach the priest-confessor, admit our sins, and joyfully receive absolution.
Children in Grade 2 and beyond are invited to prepare for and participate in the Sacrament of First Reconciliation. In line with Archdiocesan guidelines, First Reconciliation preparation is primarily home-based with several onsite activities and events for parents and student, and children need to participate in First Reconciliation before receiving First Eucharist. In addition, families are asked to be registered members of St. Stephen’s Church and to enroll the child in a grade 2 or beyond Faith Formation or Catholic day school program.
At the first parent meeting in September, parents receive a packet for home-based studies, including Reconciliation: Pardon and Peace by RCL Benziger and accompanying lesson plans, as well as other printed and online resources.
- Parent Meetings: Tuesday, October 8 OR Wednesday, October 9, 6:30 p.m. in the Church
- First Reconciliation Retreat: December 14, 9:00-9:45 a.m. in the Faith Community Center.
- Celebration of First Reconciliation: December 14; Celebration of the Sacrament will begin at 9:45 a.m. with a Word Service in the FCC, and then reception of the Sacrament at 10:00 a.m. in the Church.
It is highly recommended that children preparing for first sacraments in grade 2 attend either a grade 1 Faith Formation class or be enrolled in a Catholic school for grade 1. This helps provide a solid foundation for and helps keep the child in step with peers.
Supplemental resources for First Reconciliation preparation
For more information on First Reconciliation, email Maredith Toweh or call 763-712-7439.