What is confession?
The Sacrament of Confession (also known as the Sacrament of Penance, or the Sacrament of Reconciliation) is the sacrament through which sins committed are forgiven. This is granted through the absolution of the priest to those who with true sorrow confess their sins and promise to atone for those same sins.
Confessions are usually heard 30 minutes before Mass, or upon request. Click here to send an email and schedule an appointment.
A Catholic is required to go to Confession at least once a year (during Lent) by precept. One also goes to Confession at any time of the year one has mortal sin on one's soul (is "not in a state of grace"), especially if one desires to receive the Eucharist. However, weekly (at least monthly) Confessions are highly encouraged.
The Council of Trent in 1551 decreed that:
"As a means of regaining grace and justice, penance was at all times necessary for those who had defiled their souls with any mortal sin.... Before the coming of Christ, penance was not a sacrament, nor is it since His coming a sacrament for those who are not baptised. But the Lord then principally instituted the Sacrament of Penance, when, being raised from the dead, he breathed upon His disciples saying: 'Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained' (John 20:22-23). By which action so signal and words so clear the consent of all the Fathers has ever understood that the power of forgiving and retaining sins was communicated to the Apostles and to their lawful successors, for the reconciling of the faithful who have fallen after Baptism." (Sess. XIV, c. i)
The Catechism of the Catholic Church further confirms this, by saying:
"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 and wounded ecclesial communion. It is to them that the sacrament of Penance offers a new possibility to convert and to recover the grace of justification. The Fathers of the Church present this sacrament as 'the second plank [of salvation] after the shipwreck which is the loss of grace.'"
How do I confess?
For more information on Confession, click here.