“In the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation, also called Confession, we meet the Lord, who wants to grant forgiveness and the grace to live a renewed life in him. In this sacrament, he prepares us to receive him free from serious sin, with a lively faith, earnest hope, and sacrificial love in the Eucharist. The Church sees confession as so important that she requires that every Catholic go at least once a year.
The Church also encourages frequent confession in order to grow closer to Christ Jesus and his Body, the Church. By the grace of the Holy Spirit, we seek forgiveness and repentance, let go of patterns of sin, grow in the life of virtue, and witness to a joyful conversion. Since the graces of the sacrament are so similar to the purpose of the New Evangelization, Pope Benedict XVI has said,
“The New Evangelization… begins in the confessional!”
(from “God’s Gift of Forgiveness: A Pastoral Exhortation on the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation”, USCCB.org)
This Mystery of forgiveness and healing is celebrated at St. Thomas the Apostle every Saturday at 3 p.m. (until about 3.30 p.m.). We also have two annual evening penance services during Advent and during Lent.