“The truth will set you free” (John 8:32)
Conscience, guilt and forgiveness are part of our human experience. The first sacrament of forgiveness is Baptism which washes away all sins of past life but, even after Baptism, we are imperfect and fail in many ways.
Reconciliation is the sacrament where forgiveness of sins is given to those who repent and do penance for their sins. It involves the confession of sins to the priest. The priest then gives a penance (usually some prayers or a scriptural reading) and absolution - a declaration of God's forgiveness. Sometimes we support this Sacrament with a service of Reconciliation where we celebrate God's love for us.
Jesus gave priests the authority to minister this sacrament and forgive sins when he said to his disciples: As the Father has sent me, even so I send you...Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven, if you retain the sins of any, they are retained. (John 20:21-23)
Preparation for First Reconciliation occurs with children aged 7 (school year 3) and above during the First Holy Communion Programme.
During Advent and Lent a Communal Reconciliation service is celebrated