God’s Gift of Peace
Advent Penance Service
Monday, December 4
7:00 p.m., in the church
Throughout our lives we try our best to turn away from those things that are harmful in order to live more and more in the presence and grace of God. No matter how earnest our effort, each of us fails at some time. The sacrament of reconciliation or penance provides forgiveness for those times we have failed our God, another, or ourselves. In some way, our own failings have an effect on those around us. The communal nature of sin calls us to reconciliation as a community.
At St. Joseph the Worker we celebrate the sacrament of reconciliation as a parish during Advent with a communal penance service. The gathering consists of a welcome by the presider, followed by a hymn and an overview of how the service will proceed. We hear the Word of God, and after a brief homily there is a period of silence for an examination of conscience, a prayerful self-reflection on our words and deeds in the light of the Gospel. The assembly says an act of contrition, each in our own language. We then proceed to individual, face-to-face confession with the priest of our choice.
When we confess our sinfulness in the sacrament of reconciliation, our sorrow encounters God’s forgiveness, bringing wholeness, peace. This is why we speak of “celebrating” the sacrament. We celebrate God’s gift of peace.