The Sacrament of Reconciliationn (Confession)

The Lord gave His Apostles power to forgive sins (Matthew 16:19; John 20:23). This authority has been handed down to the bishops and priests of the Church. When we are given absolution in the sacrament of reconciliation (confession) we are truly forgiven by God Himself.

What Happens?

The penitent (person coming to confession) is invited to tell the priest of their sins, in this way opening themselves to receive God’s forgiveness. The priest may offer a word of encouragement or advice. He then suggests a penance (an act or prayer for the penitent to perform/say, as a small way of making amends for their wrongdoing). The penitent says a short prayer asking God for forgiveness, and the priest prays the prayer of absolution, using the Church’s authority to forgive sins in God’s name. If you are unsure about what to do or say, the priest will be happy to help you.

The Seal of Confession

What is said in confession is absolutely confidential. The priest is not permitted to repeat or to act upon what he hears under any circumstances whatsoever.


Confession is ordinarily only for Roman Catholics. Members of some other denominations can sometimes receive the sacrament if their own priest is not available. Please ask a priest if you are unsure. For details of other services,

click here.