27/9/09 – Renovation Concept, Consideration 10

The work of the Liturgy Committee to date, including consultation with parishioners, has resulted in the development of a renovation concept. This concept includes a number of matters we would like considered in plans for a renovated church. One consideration for our renovation plans is:

The establishment of a new chapel of reconciliation

Those who have contributed to the conversation so far believe this is important because:

confessionary in Cathedral of Christ the Light by size8jeans

The sacrament of penance is ordinarily celebrated in a church or oratory, unless a legitimate reason stands in the way. The conferences of bishops are to establish the norms pertaining to the confessional, which will include provision for clearly visible confessionals that the faithful who wish may readily use and that are equipped with a fixed screen between the penitent and the confessor. (Rite of Penance, 12)

The practice of reserving a special place in churches for the celebra­tion of the sacrament of reconciliation is a clear expression of the truth that sacramental confession and absolution constitute a liturgical action which involves the entire body of the Church and is intended to renew the participation of the faithful in the Church’s offering of the sacrifice of Christ. (Book of Blessings, 1080)

24/5/09 – A Sign of Our Call to Reconcile

The church building is the proper place for the celebration of the sacraments and rites of the Church.  A number of those occur in our church on a regular basis and make demands on the use of the liturgical space.  The sacrament of Penance (Reconciliation) is no different.

Canon Law requires that a space be prepared in each church for the celebration of Reconciliation.  In some churches, the old confessionals of the past still exist.  Nowadays, our renewed understanding of the sacrament means the space should be a proper chapel.  Chairs should be provided for the priest and the penitent, and a screen and kneeler should still be made available for those who wish it.  It should be an open, welcoming, safe and reassuring space.

The placement of the chapel is also an important consideration.  A reconciliation chapel placed near the baptismal font reminds us that we were washed free from sin at baptism, and that the sacrament of penance restores this.  There should also be a connection between the reconciliation chapel and the space where the eucharist is celebrated.  As we are reminded in the gospels, those of us who are not at peace should leave our “gift at the altar… be reconciled… and then come and offer [our] gift” (Matthew 5:24).  Both placement considerations can be easily accommodated when the chapel and the baptistery are placed at the threshold to the main body of the church.

Our church has at least three reconciliation chapels over the course of time.  Each one has proven unsuitable for different reasons.  Given contemporary considerations, and the desire to provide a proper place for the celebration of the sacrament, we wish to accommodate within a renovated church a new chapel of reconciliation.

Don’t forget that your comments on the recommendations are welcome.  You can speak to Frs. Denis or Paul, to any other member of the Liturgy Committee, email us at litcomwenty (at) yahoo (dot) com (dot) au or comment below