United by Christmas

Reconciliation Monday

Reconciliation Monday

DECEMBER 18, 2023

Visit any Catholic church in the Diocese of Brooklyn and the Archdiocese of New York. Priests will be available from 2 pm – 4 pm and 6 pm – 9 pm for confessions.

*Time and availability may vary by parish. You can visit your parish website or contact your parish office for more details.

“The church is not a museum for saints, it is a hospital for sinners.”


Have you ever wondered what it would be like to free yourself from the weight of a troubled soul? Maybe you have done wrong to someone and have fractured their trust. Perhaps you haven’t felt the need for God or really took the time to nurture your relationship with Him.

In this season of Advent, as we prepare to celebrate our greatest gift, the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, we are also preparing our hearts. We have a chance to start anew, to purify ourselves of anything that doesn’t serve the Lord or ourselves.

Reconciliation Monday is the perfect opportunity to reflect on our conscience and examine our connection with God. When we express our sorrows for the wrongs we have caused within our lives and to the lives of others, we can experience God’s true desire to bring us His peace. It is by His saving grace and forgiveness that we see just how merciful He truly is.

It is truly amazing the infinite love God has for us. He was birthed on earth, in our own likeness, to witness our human faults and die for our salvation. God is always looking for us to get closer to Him. The Church is a haven for all to come and receive His presence. He sends us the Holy Spirit for guidance so we can follow in His footsteps. God promises to walk beside us to show us His way, but it is only up to us to take the first step to allow Him to do so. If we should fall or lose direction, there is always the ability to get on the right track and continue on our journey toward His will. Through the sacrament of Reconciliation, we renew our connection to the Lord. Are you ready to experience His mercy?

What to Expect When You Make Your Next Confession

Here is what to expect when you make your confession. These steps will refresh your mind if you haven’t received the sacrament in a while, whether it hasn’t been for weeks, months, years, or even decades. If this is your first time, this list will walk you through the process.

  1. After reflecting on your actions and relationship with Christ, enter the confessional. You will have a choice of remaining behind the confessional screen or sitting in front of the priest.
  2. Greet the pastor, and reflect on the last time you had been to confession or if you’ve ever been there before. If you can’t remember your last time at confession, just say that. Nothing pleases Christ more than someone who is returning to their faith.
  3. List your sins but also deeply reflect on the consequences of these sins, whether mortal or venial.
  4. Listen to the priest’s advice or concerns regarding the sins you have committed.
  5. Pray the Act of Contrition; This has multiple versions but the most recent is “My God, 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 Your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin. Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. In his name, my God, have mercy.”
  6. Listen to the priest’s prayer which usually will be “God, the Father of mercies, through the death and the 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, and of the Holy Spirit.” Accept the penance asked of you by the priest. Usually, this could include saying the Rosary, Our Father, or Hail Mary. Afterward, make the sign of the cross and exit the confessional.
  7. Act upon your desire to not sin and actively repent through actions.

Steps to Take To Avoid Future Sin

As priests are the gateway of forgiveness from God, they must always be generous with their time to hear confessions. Those repentant should listen to the priest’s guidance to lead them to better ways to grow closer to God and avoid the temptations of sin. Reconciliation reminds us that we are responsible for our lives. Our actions and words do make a difference. By the sacrament, we are recommitting ourselves to God.

A few thoughts that we can examine before we decide to celebrate the sacrament of Reconciliation.

  1. Do I honor God?
  2. Have I been rebellious of his commands?
  3. Have I cursed or used foul language?
  4. Did I bother to attend Mass?
  5. Have I been disrespectful to my parents?
  6. Did I have temptations or thoughts to harm another or myself?
  7. Have I been a committed partner?
  8. Have I taken anything that doesn’t belong to me?
  9. Have I lied or been dishonest to anyone?
  10. Am I an envious person?
It is important to understand that striving to be a good Catholic comes from within. Through prayer, we can speak to God and ask for His guidance and mentorship. We can also practice gratitude, mindfulness, and keeping Him always present with us.

To find a church near you, select your Diocese below.