Sacrament of Reconciliation


Sin is before all else an offense against God, a rupture of communion with him.  At the same time it damages communion with the Church.  For this reason conversion entails both God’s forgiveness and reconciliation with the Church, which are expressed and accomplished liturgically by the sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation. (Catechism of Catholic Church 1440)

Christ instituted the Sacrament of Penance for all sinful members of his Church: above all for those who, since Baptism, have fallen into grave sin, and have thus lost their baptismal grace.  It is to them that the Sacrament of Penance offers a new possibility to recover the grace of justification. (CCC 1447)

History of the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation

In the early centuries after Christ, Baptism was believed to be a once-in-a-lifetime forgiveness of sin because Baptism was celebrated with adults after a long period of preparation.  Serious sin after baptism needed to be publicly confessed before the Church, and the penance imposed could be quite burdensome.

In the fifth century, in Celtic Churches, the practice of private and frequent confession was prescribed by the Irish monks, partly to avoid the scandal of public confession of sins, and partly as a way of aiding spiritual growth.  The Second Vatican Council directed emphasis away from a too-legalistic understanding of sin and turned more toward the covenant with God, the call to conversion, the inner attitudes of the heart, personal responsibility, and reconciliation with God and the community.

Definition of Penance and Reconciliation

Those who approach the sacrament of Penance obtain pardon from God’s mercy for the offense committed against Him, and are, at the same time, reconciled with the Church, which they have wounded, by their sins. (CCC1422)

There are three rites for the Celebration of the Sacrament of Penance: individual reconciliation, communal celebration with general confession and general absolution.

Reception for the Sacrament of Penance at St. Alphonsus Catholic Church

  1. The child must be baptized according to the Rite of the Roman Catholic Church, is at least seven years of age, and in the second grade of school.  Children who do not receive the sacrament in the second grade will be prepared for celebrating the sacrament through the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA).
  2. The child must be enrolled in the Faith Formation Program for at least two years, attend Mass weekly with a parent/guardian, and participate in all scheduled classes, programs, and events.
  3. The sacrament of Penance is celebrated prior to the reception of First Holy Communion.
  4. Special adaptation will be made for children with developmental disabilities or special needs.
  5. Adults who seek to celebrate the Sacrament of Penance will be prepared through the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA).


Saturday: 8:30 AM & 4:00 – 4:50 PM

or by appointment.

There is also a Reconciliation Service celebrated during the seasons of Lent and Advent.