Pope Francis hears confession from a man during a penitential liturgy in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican March 28. Pope Francis surprised his liturgical adviser by going to confession during the service. (CNS photo/L'Osservatore Romano via Reuters) (March 31, 2014) See POPE-PENANCE March 28, 2014.

Saturday 3:00-3:45 pm at Our Lady Star of the Sea Church and by appointment.

When we sin, we deprive ourselves of God’s grace. And by doing so, we make it even easier to sin some more. The only way out of this downward cycle is to acknowledge our sins, to repent of them, and to ask God’s forgiveness. Then, in the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession), grace can be restored to our souls, and we can once again resist sin.

Three things are required of a penitent in order to receive the sacrament worthily:


  • One must be contrite—or, in other words, sorry for one’s sins.
  • One must confess those sins fully, in kind and in number.
  • One must be willing to do penance and make amends for one’s sins.


While Catholics are only required to go to Confession when they are aware that they have committed a mortal sin, the Church urges the faithful to take advantage of the sacrament often.

The Church especially urges the faithful to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation (confession) frequently during Lent to help them in their spiritual preparation for Easter.

Non-Catholics, and even many Catholics, often ask whether they can confess their sins directly to God, and whether God can forgive them without going through a priest. On the most basic level, of course, the answer is yes, and Catholics should make frequent acts of contrition, which are prayers in which we tell God that we are sorry for our sins and ask for His forgiveness.

But the question misses the point of the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession). The sacrament, by its very nature, confers graces that help us to live a Christian life, which is why the Church requires us to receive it at least once per year. Moreover, it was instituted by Christ as the proper form for the forgiveness of our sins. Therefore, we should not only be willing to receive the sacrament, but we should embrace it as a gift from a loving God.