The Sacrament of Reconciliation (Penance or Confession)
In this sacrament, we are absolved of our sins. There are several forms of this sacrament but the most common is direct confession to a priest. You may see the priest face-to-face or speak through a screen. You may receive the sacrament in church at scheduled times or by appointment with a priest either in church or in the priest’s office.
In the sacrament of Reconciliation we express sorrow for our sins and promise to do our best to not repeat this sin again, we acknowledge our sins before God, we receive pardon (absolution), and we perform an act of penance or reconciliation as directed by the priest. The grace we receive from the reception of the sacrament helps us grow stronger in our faith and our ability to live a Christ-centered life.
Any baptized Catholic may receive this sacrament. There is no limit to the number of times we can be forgiven for our sins! Catholics are encouraged to receive this sacrament at least once a year between the start of Lent and Pentecost. Catholics who have committed serious sin are not to receive the Eucharist until their serious sin has been forgiven in the sacrament of Reconciliation.
Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) explains that the precepts of the Church are meant to guarantee us “the very necessary minimum in the spirit of prayer and moral effort, in the growth in love of God and neighbor” (CCC 2041).
Continuing under the "first precept, 'You shall attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation. . . .'" (CCC 2042), the "second precept ('You shall confess your [serious] sins at least once a year') ensures preparation for the Eucharist by the reception of the sacrament of reconciliation, which continues Baptism’s work of conversion and forgiveness."
In addition, the "third precept ('You shall receive the sacrament of the Eucharist at least once during the Easter season') guarantees as a minimum the reception of the Lord’s body and blood in connection with the Paschal feasts, the origin and center of the Christian liturgy." (CCC 2042)
For questions about Reconciliation or to schedule an appointment with a priest for the Sacrament, click