The Sacrament of Reconciliation [or Confession] is offered between 11.00am and 11:50am each day in the Chapel of Reconciliation.

Central to the life and mission of the Catholic National Shrine and Basilica of Our Lady, at Walsingham is the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Our Shrine is a place of peace and healing where countless pilgrims have encountered the compassion and mercy of God. Unburdened of sin and strengthened in faith and hope, through the grace of this Sacrament, they are able to continue on their pilgrim journey in life renewed in their relationship with God and their brothers and sisters.

The Sacrament of Reconciliation (Penance or Confession) is the Sacrament in which Catholics receive forgiveness from Christ. We repent and confess our sins, and are absolved of sin through the ministry of a priest, who acts in the person of Christ when he pronounces the words ‘I absolve you from your sins in the name of Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’.

Sin damages our relationship with God, with the Church and with each other. Confession is important because it is the normal way we can be forgiven for serious sins committed after Baptism. It is this Sacrament that reconciles us once again with God. At the same time, we are reconciled with the Church because it is also wounded by our sins.

The Church Fathers described the Sacrament of Reconciliation as the ‘second plank’ we can count on when we get shipwrecked by sin and the loss of grace (CCC 1446), the first being Baptism.

Regular confession is important because it helps us to come close to Christ and develop a mature conscience. The act of confessing itself bestows healing and a sense of release from the burden of sin. The Sacrament helps us stay close to the truth that we cannot live without God: ‘In him we live and move and have our being’ (Acts 17:28).

There are four parts of the Sacrament of Reconciliation:

  1. Contrition: A sincere sorrow for having offended God, and a firm resolve not to repeat our sin.
  2. Confession: Confronting our sins in a profound way to God by speaking them aloud to the priest. For a fruitful Confession, you can prepare by making an Examination of Conscience, reflecting on what sins you have committed and why.
  3. Penance: An important part of our healing is the penance (some form of prayer or sacrifice) which the priest gives us in reparation for our sins.
  4. Absolution: The priest speaks the words by which we are reconciled to God and are absolved from our sins.

Confession is an encounter with God’s loving mercy and rightly described as a sacrament of healing.