The sacrament of reconciliation is offered at Holy Family in our reconciliation room, located in the vestibule area of the church. The reconciliation room allows for either an anonymous setting or a face to face approach. Some people find it comforting to make an appointment with one of the priests for individual reconciliation. In this case, one meets the confessor in his office in the Pastoral Center.
During Advent and Lent, Holy Family Church offers a communal Reconciliation Service. Generally, the service includes the Liturgy of the Word, a reflection on the readings, and an examination of conscience. Priests from nearby parishes assist at these services so that there is a sufficient number to hear individual confessions.
Sacrament of Reconciliation (weekly)
Saturdays, 3:30 p.m.-4:45 p.m.
Reconciliation Room, in the vestibule of Holy Family Church
If this is not convenient, a priest is also available by appointment.
About the Sacrament of Reconciliation
In the family, the school, the workplace-in any community-there must be attention to healing. People hurt each other, let the hurt done to them grow into a greater hurt done to someone else. Choices are made based on something other than the great¬est good of all. However such things show themselves, we know in small and great ways the presence of evil-not just out there but inside. And we try, when we can, to find ways to bring healing.
The church, every church, every gathering that pro¬fesses to live by the words of the scriptures and to find itself in the breaking of bread, knows that all this hurting and all this healing is at the heart of what being church is about: that God is greater than evil, that God loves us despite the evil that we do, that there is reconciliation. Every gathering of the church proclaims this. Such direction toward recon-ciliation, not just as an insight of theology but as a reality in our communities, is especially celebrated in the eucharist. In the one loaf and one cup, in the praying of the Our Father, in the greeting of peace, and in the common eating and drinking of the Lord’s body and blood, we share a vision of God’s kingdom, where all the hurt we do each other ends. But the church is not satisfied with a “pie in the sky when we die” vision: The eating and the drinking in holy communion are not authentic if they do not reflect a present striving.
The church knows rites other than eucharist that focus on the reconciliation of an individual with the larger community, or that mark our common effort to repent, to struggle against evil. The season of Lent developed not only to support the initiation of new Christians, but also to observe acts of penance and reconciliation by people who had seriously offended the Lord’s commandments and the ways of the community. Lent became a time when the whole church sought mightily to turn from evil and walk in the way of the Lord.
While we are discovering the dimensions of reconciliation present in the eucharist and seek what the season of Lent can be for us today, we are also renewing the rites of reconciliation themselves. One direction that seems to reflect the way we experience evil and the greater grace of God leads toward communal penance services. People are more and more aware that sin is not something that can be separated into small, individual portions. Prejudice, hunger, war-making-these make it clear that evil is contagious and powerful in our world and touches all of us. And we are more accustomed to seeing how our lives move in broad directions, how the ways we share in evil or in good cannot readily be isolated; things interconnect. We strive to let grace more and more be our way.
All of this we want to express in ritual. Sometimes this is best done in the large gathering of the church, and some¬times in a simple meeting of individual penitent and confessor. In the latter case, we need to explore the possibilities of the new rite, which stresses prayer, scripture reading and the laying on of hands, as well as dialogue between penitent and confessor.
Reconciliation, like all church rituals, is more than a ritual: It is the church’s way of life. The healing nature of the church needs to be evident in all the parish does. Every sinner must know that he or she is welcome in the community where mercy and compassion await. And the community cannot wait until the alienated seek reconciliation; the community must spread the word that forgiveness and healing are gifts freely given. For any of us to pretend that we have no wounds, or that they will heal by themselves, is an illusion. We need God’s healing forgiveness and we need each other to be assured that forgiveness is real.
The Value of the Sacrament
• We unburden ourselves to another caring person, an interested listener, and one who strives to lift us from our troublesome situations.
• By hearing the words of absolution, we walk away experiencing God’s mercy, the knowledge of God’s forgiveness, and the feeling of guilt removed.
• As Catholics, we believe that all sacraments give God’s love, grace. The special graces from reconciliation restore us to wholeness.