The Sacrament of Reconciliation is also known as the “Sacrament of Penance” or “Confession.” It is the ritual for confessing and forgiving sins. Sin is the failing to recognise and love God in our thoughts and actions. Sin is also a failure to love one another, not merely a failure to love God. This is known as “the community sense of sin.”
People are forgiven their sins in this sacrament through the priest’s words and actions. This is referred to as ‘Absolution.’ The priest represents God and the community that is affected by sin, and the priest offers forgiveness on God’s and the community’s behalf.
Penance is a sign of sadness as well as a commitment to make amends. It is also a proof of our determination to make positive changes in our life. This is what conversion entails. When the Sacrament is celebrated as a group, the penance is said as a group after everyone has had the opportunity to confess. When conducted in the traditional one-to-one format, a penance is assigned and the person accepts that penance privately.
Forms of Celebration
Individual confession is a one-on-one interaction with a priest in which the sacrament is celebrated. Many parishes also hold ‘Penitential Services’ at various periods of the year, such as Advent, Lent, and Parish Missions. People prepare as a group for this communal type of celebration, and many priests hear confessions individually and people receive absolution individually.