The Sacrament of Reconciliation is for our spiritual healing. According to the Gospels, after the Resurrection, Jesus appeared to the apostles, breathed on them, and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; whose sins you shall retain, they are retained." (John 20:22-23) That's why Jesus left this sacrament, to heal our spiritual wounds, which we call sin.
Catholics must confess all known mortal sins to a priest. By doing this, we put ourselves in the state of grace necessary to receive the Holy Eucharist and any other sacrament. Any venial, or minor sins we have committed are forgiven by receiving Holy Eucharist.
Telling our sins to a priest isn't as scary as people think. Most people tell sensitive, delicate and confidential information to their doctor or lawyer, so why not your priest? The priest is bound by the most absolute secrecy and confidentiality known to humankind. Not even the pope can get a priest to reveal who they heard, or what they said.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation, or confession for short, is held each Saturday from 3:00-4:00 PM. Our Reconciliation room is in the left front of the church near the Holy Family statues. During Lent and Advent St. Edward offers a communal Penance Service with opportunity for individual confession. Private confession is available by appointment with any priest.
1. We examine our conscience by reviewing the Ten Commandments and identifying those that we have broken. And we must have perfect contrition for these sins; in other words be truly sorry for them and resolved to not repeat them. A good examination of conscience can be found at A Detailed Catholic Examination of Conscience.
2. We enter the confessional or reconciliation room and greet the priest. We say "bless me Father for I have sinned, it has been 'xxx' since my last confession."
3. We confess all our mortal or serious sins and answer any questions the priest has.
4. When we have finished confessing we say an Act of Contrition, one is: Oh my God, I am very sorry for having offended You. I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven and fear the pain of hell, but most of all, because I have offended You, my God, who are all good and deserving of my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of Your grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin. Amen.
5. The priest will say the prayer of Absolution and give you penance to do.
6. We then leave and immediately perform the penance given to us.