Jesus came that we might be saved. He brought healing to us – both physical healing in many miracles and, more importantly, spiritual healing. He saves us from sin. We have been reconciled to God in Christ. This spiritual healing is given to us today through Christ’s Church in what is known as the Rite of Reconciliation.
Until the Second Vatican Council, emphasis had been placed on the private aspect of Penance. The liturgical form of the sacrament highlighted the sinner and his relationship with God. In the Church today there is also a concern for the social and community aspect of the sacrament. Our failures weaken the whole community; our successes strengthen the whole community. In a sense by being Christians we cease to be private persons. The Church is the Body of Christ, and we are the Church. Whether we realise it or not, we are deeply bound up with one another as Christians. This concept underlies the various forms of the Rite of Reconciliation.
The first form of the Rite resembles the former Rite of Penance in which the individual confesses sinfulness privately to the priest, and receives absolution and a penance. In the second form, the community assembles and in an atmosphere of prayer and humility acknowledges its failings. There is reflection on the Word of God; private confession of sins follows; and then there is a community thanksgiving for God’s mercy and pardon.
While there are set times for reconciliation, (Saturday Afternoons – from 4.30 till 5.15pm) you may choose to call the Office and make an appointment for any time that is convenient.