On the evening of his resurrection from the dead, Jesus appeared to the Apostles and gave them the power to forgive all human sin. Breathing upon them, He said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you retain anyone’s sins, they are retained.” Through the sacrament of Holy Orders, bishops and priests of the Church receive the power from Christ himself to forgive sins. It is exercised in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, also known as the Sacrament of Penance or simply “confession.” Through this sacrament, Christ forgives the sins that members of his Church commit after baptism. Sometimes people ask: Why confess my sins to a priest? Why not confess them directly to God? The simple answer is that, as human beings, we do not live in our minds alone, we need to externalize bodily – with words, signs and gestures – what is in our minds and hearts. We need to see, hear and feel forgiveness – not just think about it. We need other people to help us externalize what is within and open our hearts before the Lord, which the priest does in the sacrament of reconciliation. He is there as a guide in our discernment, compassionately helping us experience and proclaim the mercy of God in our lives. The sacrament of reconciliation is celebrated on a regular basis at St. Alfred’s Church. Saturday: 10-11:30 a.m. Monday: 6:30pm-7:20pm. During the Holy Season of Lent there are additional times also.