Reconciliation (or penance, or confession) is one of the two Sacraments of healing. It is the Sacrament in which sins committed after baptism are confessed after an examination of conscience and forgiven by a priest in the name of Christ.
"Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained." - John 20:23
The Sacrament of Penance is an experience of the gift of God's boundless mercy. Not only does it free us from our sins but it also challenges us to have the same kind of compassion and forgiveness for those who sin against us. We are liberated to be forgivers. We obtain new insight into the words of the Prayer of St. Francis: "It is in pardoning that we are pardoned."
Jesus entrusted the ministry of reconciliation to the Church. The Sacrament of Penance is God's gift to us so that any sin committed after Baptism can be forgiven. In confession, we have the opportunity to repent and recover the grace of friendship with God. It is a holy moment in which we place ourselves in his presence and honestly acknowledge our sins, especially mortal sins. With absolution, we are reconciled to God and the Church. The Sacrament helps us stay close to the truth that we cannot live without God. "In him, we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28). While all the Sacraments bring us an experience of the mercy that comes from Christ's dying and rising, it is the Sacrament of Reconciliation that is the unique Sacrament of mercy.
The Sacrament of Reconciliation is available by appointment by calling the parish office. Communal celebrations of the Sacrament are offered regionally during the seasons of Advent and Lent. Watch the bulletin for dates, times and locations for the Advent and Lenten celebrations.
PREPARING YOUR CHILD FOR THE SACRAMENT OF FIRST RECONCILIATION
The Catholic Sacrament of Reconciliation has three elements: conversion, confession, and celebration. In it we find God's unconditional forgiveness; as a result, we are called to forgive others. The celebration of the Sacrament of First Reconciliation at St. Bernard is a parish service held for parish children enrolled in the 2nd grade of School or our Family Faith Formation program.
These “first" Sacraments are milestones in your child’s ongoing Catholic formation. how they encounter this Sacrament now, may shape their experience of it for the rest of their lives.
Oftentimes in our minds, these first sacraments are filled with images of parties, fancy dresses or suits and lots of gifts. Not to diminish those images, we would like to offer a new image as well to you. The image is your child’s face filled with the wonder and awe of receiving God’s mercy and love in our precious sacramental moments. The best part of these images is that these sacramental moments are ours for life; not just in that one moment.
Our program is a family-based model where child and parent(s) will come together to learn about and share the faith. All of this preparation takes place outside of the school classroom. In person sessions will be offered at multiple times to allow families to fit them in their schedule. There will be some family friendly at-home assignments as well.
The celebration of First Reconcilation will happen in the fall before the child begins prepration for and celebrates First Eucharist. See more about First Eucharist here.
A parent only information session to review both First Sacraments (Reconcilation and Eucharist) will be held at the start of the school year. The dates for this meeting will be emailed to all registered families. Children must be enrolled in the parish school or our Family Faith Formation program to particpate in this program. A calendar with all dates will also be provided at the parent meeting.
Families will complete only one Registration form which are for both First Sacraments - Reconcilation and Eucharist. The link to the form can be found on the page for First Eucharist.
Has it been a few years since you have been to the Sacrament of Reconciliation?
Does the thought of facing a priest after all that time have you worried?
You are not alone. Here are some videos which may help.