“The Lord Jesus Christ, physician of our souls and our bodies. . . has willed that his Church continue, in the power of the Holy Spirit, his work of healing and salvation.” Catechism of the Catholic Church, no. 1421
It is true, only God can forgive sins, but Jesus willed that the Church should be his instrument of forgiveness on this earth: “As the Father has sent me, so I send you . . . Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”
In order to be forgiven, we need to have sorrow for our sins. This means turning away from evil and turning to God. Surely we can go directly to God and ask for forgiveness and He will forgive. The Gift that Is the Sacrament of Reconciliation allows us to ask forgiveness from God who is represented by the Priest. The priest also represents the community of faith, that as “one body”, is also affected by sin.
Preparation for the Sacrament of Reconciliation for children begins around the age of reason. If you are an adult and have been away from the sacrament of Reconciliation or Penance, for some time, perhaps years, do not hesitate to come and experience the peace and liberating grace of God’s forgiveness.
At St. John’s the sacrament is celebrated on Saturdays from 4:00 pm – 4:30 pm. Other opportunities such as communal services are available during Advent and Lent.