THE SACRAMENTS OF HEALING: Celebrating the healing power of Jesus
Penance and Reconciliation, also called confession, involves the admitting of one’s sins to a priest, who, by Christ, is given the power to absolve them. By this absolution, one is reconciled to Christ, from whom he has been separated due to his sins (and whom he has wounded by his sins). The priest also assigns penance (a task to complete in order to achieve absolution or forgiveness from God). Absolution is not complete until the penance is performed. The penitent must also make reparations to anyone he may have sinned against, if this is possible.
It should be noted that absolution of one’s sins does not remove the consequences that one might suffer due to his sins; the emphasis in the sacrament being placed on the restoration of the relationship between the sinner and Christ (and any wounded by the sin). This sacrament is sometimes called a tribunal. The penitent is, at once, the accuser (as he admits his sins), the accused (as he accepts responsibility), and the witness (as he testifies to what has occurred). The priest acts for Christ as judge and jury; a priest will only give absolution if the penitent exemplifies true sorrow for his sins and resolves not to commit them again. However, all are encouraged to confess sins, even if sorrow for his sins are imperfect and only for fear of God, for if one dies in serious sin (as opposed to venial sin), it is believed that he will not go to heaven.
The priest is bound by the seal of confession. This binds the priest to never speak of what he has heard in the confessional to anyone; if he does, he automatically incurs the punishment of excommunication.
St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church offers the Sacrament of Reconciliation by appointment (call the main office at 355-8980) on weekdays and on Saturdays after the 8:30 a.m. mass, between 3:30-4:15 p.m. or after 4:30 p.m. mass.