Reconciliation is a sacrament of healing. We celebrate in a concrete way God’s continuing care for us. We are in a relationship with God and sometimes we turn our back on that relationship. But God is always there, ready to forgive. Pope Francis has said, “God never tires of forgiving us; we are the ones who tire of seeking his mercy”.
The sacrament of Reconciliation is offered at St. Raphael Church on Saturdays at 3:00-4:00 p.m. and on the second Tuesday of each month at 7:00-8:00 p.m., or by appointment. Call Fr. Bill Kramer at 937-323-7523, ext. 10 to schedule an appointment.
When children are in the 2nd grade we begin to prepare them to receive Reconciliation for the first time. At St. Joseph/ St. Raphael that celebration happens within the Advent Reconciliation service in December. Typically these children then go on to prepare for 1st Eucharist later in the year. The Catholic Church does require a child be catechized in the Sacrament of Reconciliation prior to Eucharist. However if you feel, after your time of preparation with your child, that they are not ready to come to Reconciliation, they do not have to receive this sacrament to be allowed to then receive Eucharist. If you find yourself in this situation, please talk to Fr. Bill, Deacon Norm, Deacon John or Lisa Lenard. We may help you work through this. You may find that your child has the simple understanding of forgiveness, which is all that is required.
Since these children are preparing for Reconciliation and Eucharist we call this group “Journey to the Table”. Our first meeting is in early October with parents and children. This gathering will give us the opportunity to explain the changes in the way that we prepare children to receive these sacraments. “Parents are the first and most important educator of their own children, and they also possess a fundamental competence in this area: they are educators because they are parents”- St. Pope John Paul II. All of the parishes in Springfield are turning to parents to take more of the responsibility for the preparation of Sacraments. This meeting will explain what that means and give you some resources to assist you. Children receive sacraments through their parish, not the school, so although Catholic Central does help prepare the children for Reconciliation and Eucharist children from both Catholic Central and our parish CCD program come together to the Journey sessions for sacramental formation.
We examine our conscience to help us live as children of God and followers of Jesus. We ask ourselves how well we are living or not living as Jesus taught us. We think about the Ten Commandments, the Beatitudes, and what the Church teaches us. We can ask ourselves questions like these:
I am sorry for my sins with all my heart.
In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good,
I have sinned against you whom I should love above all things.
I firmly intend, with you help, to do penance, to sin no more and to avoid whatever leads m to sin.
Just as people tend to look at the cross as a symbol of suffering and death, they also tend to see the season of Lent as a time of self-denial and hardship. But with the cross is resurrection, and with self-denial comes new life! Lent is a time to recall and relive the fact that Jesus “bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that m free from sin, we might live for righteousness” (1Peter 2:24)
Can you imagine living “free from sins”? This is God’s promise to each of us- a promise we can receive more deeply during these forty days. So let’s enter more fully into the freedom that God has for us by turning to him in repentance. It’s there, in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, that we can experience Jesus not only forgiving us but transforming and strengthening us as well.
The following examination of conscience is meant to help you prepare for Confession. As you ponder the verses below, ask the Holy Spirit to show you any hidden corners of your life that need transforming. Remember: Jesus is inviting all of us to experience his presence and power during these forty days of grace. So together, let’s “rid ourselves of every burden and sin that clings to us and persevere in running the race that lies before us while keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus” (Hebrews 12:1-2).
“Return to me with your whole heart.” (Joel 2:12-13)
“He humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross>” (Philippians 2:8)
“When you give alms…” (Matthew 6:2)
“A clean heart create for me, God.” (Psalm 51:12)
“May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ” (Galatians 6:14)