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Sacrament of Reconciliation

Saturdays - 4:00 pm

Other times by appointment by calling the rectory at (908) 322-5192

Reconciliation, or Penance, is the sacrament by which we receive God's healing forgiveness for sins committed after baptism. The rite is called reconciliation because it reconciles us not only with God but with the church community. Both these aspects of reconciliation are important.

As members of Christ's Body, everything we do affects the whole Body. Sin wounds and weakens the Body of Christ; the healing we receive in penance restores health and strength to the Church, as well as to ourselves.

Since every sin is an offense against God, which disrupts our friendship with him, the ultimate purpose of penance is that we should love God deeply and commit ourselves completely to him. Therefore, the sinner who by the grace of a merciful God embraces the way of penance comes back to the Father who "first loved us" (1 John 4:19), to Christ who gave himself up for us, and to the Holy Spirit who has been poured out on us abundantly.

The follower of Christ who has sinned but who has been moved by the Holy Spirit to come to the sacrament of penance should above all be converted to God with their whole heart. This inner conversion of heart embraces sorrow for sin and the intent to lead a new life.

When a person turns aside or away from God's love, the harm is to the sinner. Venial sin strains one's relationship with God. Mortal sin ruptures the relationship. Sin is a tragic reality. But the sacrament of penance is a joyful reunion.

First Penance Preparation

The First Penance program is an opportunity for our children to experience the forgiveness of God through this sacrament by understanding the concepts of right and wrong, and how sin and forgiveness are understood in light of God's love and mercy. First Penance is an opportunity to intensify and continue the moral education already taking place in the home.

Through traditional in-class groups, the children are prepared to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation as they are helped to reflect on sin, forgiveness, mercy and by learning how to approach and participate in the sacrament.

The recommended age for First Penance is Second grade. The following are some criteria to help you determine whether your child should prepare for First Penance:

  • Is your child beginning to experience acceptable and regretful decision-making?
  • Does your child express sorrow when they've hurt someone?
  • Does your child understand the consequences of a poor decision?

For more information about First Reconciliation program please visit the Religious Education section.


St. Bartholomew the Apostle Parish

2032 Westfield Avenue
Scotch Plains, N.J. 07076
Tel: 908-322-5192 | Fax: 908-322-2598
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St. Bartholomew Academy

2032 Westfield Avenue
Scotch Plains, N.J. 07076
Tel: 908-322-4265 | Fax: 908-322-7065
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Religious Education

2032 Westfield Avenue
Scotch Plains, N.J. 07076
Tel: 908-322-2359
Religious Education