“Christ instituted the sacrament of Penance for all sinful members of his Church: above all for those who, since Baptism, have fallen into grave sin, and have thus lost their baptismal grace and wounded ecclesial communion. It is to them that the sacrament of Penance offers a new possibility to convert and to recover the grace of justification. The Fathers of the Church present this sacrament as “the second plank [of salvation] after the shipwreck which is the loss of grace.” (CCC 1446)
The Gospels provide numerous examples of Jesus’ mission to forgive sins. While only God can forgive sins, the Church is his instrument of forgiveness on earth. On Pentecost Jesus shared with the Apostles his power to forgive sins: “Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” (Jn 20:21-23) Today, priests and bishops continue this ministry to forgive sins.
Sins committed after Baptism are forgiven in the Sacrament of Penance. For those who have committed mortal sin, this Sacrament is necessary to be reconciled with God and the Church. What can a person expect when they go to confession? They will be greeted by the priest, who will usually read from Scripture. The person confesses their sins; the priest may offer encouragement or guidance for the person’s moral and spiritual growth. The priest gives a penance and asks the person to say an act of contrition. Then the priest, representing Christ, grants absolution.
People who have been away from the sacrament may worry that they no longer know how to go to confession. In that case, they should tell the priest that it’s been a while since they have received the sacrament and ask for help to make a good confession. The priest will guide them through the ritual. Many people experience great peace and spiritual consolation after making a good confession. Their encounter with a loving, merciful God gives them renewed strength and ability to turns towards God and away from sin.
This Sacrament gives Christ’s faithful the further possibility of conversion. All of us know that we are not perfect and depend on God for the grace necessary to change our lives. Through Confession, we announce our sins to the priest who sits “in persona Christi” (in the person of Christ) and exercises the command of Christ to His Apostles, ”Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.” (Jn 20:23)
Our Lady of Mercy Confession Schedule: Monday nights from 6:00pm until 6:45pm and on Saturday afternoons from 4:00pm until 4:45pm (May thru November) and from 3:00pm until 4:45pm (November thru April). Additionally, during Lent at OLM, the Sacrament of Confession is offered everyday from 11:45am until Noon and guest confessors are brought in for Monday night Confessions. You may also schedule an appointment for Confession by contacting one of the OLM Parish Priests at 401-884-4968.. Please consult the parish bulletin for seasonal Penance Services during Advent and Lent.