“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” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1422).

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Learn more about why you would want to confess your sins to a priest over at Videos

First Reconciliation

How do I know if my child is ready for First Reconciliation?

  • The ability of the child to distinguish between right and wrong.
  • The awareness of the need for forgiveness and trust in Jesus’ forgiving love.
  • The ability to express sorrow.
  • The ability of the child to describe wrongdoing in his or her own words.
  • The ability to ask for forgiveness. 
  • Those with mental developmental disabilities are to receive their sacraments along with their peer groups even without showing any of the above signs

What are the requirements for First Reconciliation? 

The child:

  1. has reached at least the age of reason (7-11)
  2. is receiving ongoing instruction in the faith either at St. James, home, or school
  3. is regularly attending Sunday Mass and Holy Days of Obligation and the other precepts of the Church (link to Reconciliation page – Precepts of the Church)
  4. has requested Confession, Confirmation, or First Communion

How do I get the First Reconciliation process started? 

  1. The first step of the confirmation preparation process is to assess the readiness of the child from the parental perspective. See above “How do I know that my child is ready for First Reconciliation?
  2. The second step is to please contact Father Mayer to schedule an assessment meeting with the child so that he can confirm the child’s readiness to begin sacramental preparation.
  3. The third step is to prepare to attend with your child the Reconciliation Workshop on Sunday, January 22, 2023, 12-2 PM. Note parents are also expected to go to Confession at this workshop as this helps to calm the child’s fears and to see Confession as a normal part of the faith.

Confession FAQ

How often should I receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation?

The bare minimum, according to the Catechism, is that serious sins must be confessed at least once a year, though you may be required to go more often if you are committing grave or mortal sins, which need to be confessed as soon as possible and which must be confessed before receiving communion. However, if you truly want to grow closer to the Lord and grow in holiness, the Church strongly recommends frequent confession, even of lesser non-grave or venial sins (Catechism 1458). Consider committing to quarterly, monthly, or even weekly confession.

Who can go to confession? A protestant?

Any Catholic or anyone who is preparing to become Catholic and will soon be entering the Church. If you are non-catholic, but have been baptized in the proper Christian way, you can go to confession in cases of grave necessity, for example you are in danger of death, you have received special permission from the bishop, or you are not able to go to your own minister. To participate in confession, you must also understand what the Church teaches about this sacrament.

How to make an examination of conscience to prepare for confession.

Prayer before Self-Examination

O Holy Spirit, Source of all light, Spirit of wisdom, of understanding, and of knowledge, come to my assistance and enable me to make a good confession. Enlighten me, and help me now to know my sins as one day I shall be forced to recognize them before they judgment seat. Bring to mind the evil which I have done and the good which I have neglected. Permit me not to be blinded by self-love. Grant me, moreover, heartfelt sorrow for my transgressions, knowing how deeply they have wounded the loving heart of my Heavenly Father; and help me to make a good confession that all stain of guilt may be washed away in the Precious Blood of my Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.


  1. The Decalogue:


  1. Have I offended God by putting anything or anyone before him? Have I refused God’s service by neglecting my prayers or the duties of worship, especially attendance at Mass? Have I regarded people, things, or my own self-satisfaction as more important than God and service to him? Have I refused to nourish and protect my faith in God and obedience to the teachings of his Church? Have I despaired of my salvation? Have I presumed upon God’s mercy?


  1. Have I used the Lord’s Name profanely, in cursing or swearing? Have I kept the vows and promises that I have made to God? Have I been guilty of irreverence or impiety? Have I blamed God for my sins and my failings?


  1. Have I deliberately failed to keep the Lord’s Day by missing Mass or neglecting opportunities for public worship, rest, prayer, and recollection? Have I received the Holy Eucharist in a state of mortal sin?


  1. Have I offended against the legitimate authority of my parents or my superiors? Have I been disrespectful of, or disobedient to, those set over me? Have I neglected my parents or failed to uphold the sanctity of the family?


  1. Have I offended against life? Have I refused the gift of life or openness to life? Have I harmed, subverted, or threatened the lives of others? Have I been a good steward of my own health and the well-being of others? Have I threatened or done bodily harm to others? Have I verbally or emotionally abused others?


  1. Have I been unfaithful to my marriage vows, by thought, word, or deed? Have I offended against faithfulness to the marital covenant as a bond of full affection and exclusive love?


  1. Have I been guilty of theft? Have I taken, kept, or arrogated to myself anything not properly belonging to me? Have I been wasteful of time or resources belonging to others? Have I cheated others or failed to pay my debts and make good on my obligations?


  1. Have I borne false witness or been guilty of slander, detraction, or scandal to others? Have I lied or been guilty of deception? Have I gossiped, betrayed confidences, demeaned others, or spoken spitefully against those I am bound to honour and respect?


  1. Have I been lustful or impure, by though, word, or deed, with another or by myself? Have I failed to respect and defend the dignity and integrity of others? Have I been possessive of others or covetous of their time, duties, and attention?


  1. Have I been selfish, grasping, greedy, or envious? Have I coveted the belongings, good fortune, or advantages accorded to others by not to me?


  1. The Precepts of the Church


  1. Have I refused attendance at Mass on any Sunday of Holy Day of Obligation? Have I dishonoured the Lord’s Day? Have I offended against piety and reverence?


  1. Have I failed to confess my sins in the Sacrament of Penance at least once a year? Have I withheld anything important in my Confession? Have I been dishonest or careless in preparing and making my Confession? Have I failed to perform the penance assigned in the Sacrament of Penance?


  1. Have I failed to make my Easter duty, receiving the Sacrament of the Eucharist during the Easter season? Have I neglected to be diligent and regular in preparing for Holy Communion, taking care to receive only in the state of grace? Have I received Holy Communion without repenting and confessing any mortal sins?


  1. Have I deliberately failed to keep the church’s rules for days of abstinence and fast? Have I willfully neglected or flouted the Eucharistic fast (refraining from food at least one hour before receiving Holy Communion)? Have I been careless in doing penance on Fridays?


  1. Have I deliberately scanted or neglected the duties and opportunities of providing for the material needs of my parish and the Church with time, money, and labour?


  1. If married, have I failed to follow the Church’s discipline and teaching on marriage and openness to life? Have I refused to give of myself to my spouse for less than a serious reason? Have I done anything that strained, damaged, or violated my marital covenant?


Prayer after Self-Examination

O my God, how great are my sins! Would that I had never offended thee. If by carelessness or ignorance I have forgotten anything in my self-examination, show it to me now that I make a good confession; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

What is the form for confession?

The Penitent makes the sign of the Cross saying:

+ In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The Priest may say:

The Lord be in thy heart and on thy lips, that thou mayest truly confess thy sins to Almighty God.

The Penitent names sins, and afterward says:

Bless me Father, for I have sinned. It has been … since my last confession. These are my sins: …

After the penitent confesses his or her sins, the Priest gives counsel and assigns a penance. Then the penitent makes his or her act of contrition with these or similar words:

O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended thee and I detest all my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven, and the pains of hell; but most of all, because they offend thee, my God, who art all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve, with the help of thy grace, to amend my life, to sin no more, and to avoid the near occasions of sin. Amen.

Then the priest says the prayer of absolution:

God, the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins; through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, X and of the Holy Spirit.

          The penitent answers: Amen.