Sacrament of Penance During Lent

Is the sacrament of penance required during lent, or is it just required once a year and traditionally received during lent? Our first holy communion class had their first penance during advent, but I need to know whether to tell their parents to send them to the sacrament before Easter!

Sacrament of Penance is really only needed when one is in grave sin.

What you are thinking of is that since Catholics are required to partake of the Eucharist at least once during the year, during Lent, then Penance tends to be seen in that light as well.

we are obligated to confess all mortal sins at least once a year at any time. I do think it is wise when first confession is separated from first communion by several months to remind parents to give their children another chance for confession, and to establish a family habit of regular trips to confession (without forcing the child to confess). At the minimum doing this in Advent and Lent is a good practice. One goal of this reminder of course is to get the parents back to confession as well.

Smith29 we are required to make 1 confession during the Easter season which means during Lent.

not quite, we are required to confess all mortal sins once a year at any time, and obligated to receive Holy Communion during the Easter season

Shouldn’t you have been encouraging the parents to take their children to confession at least once per month? Shouldn’t you have been teaching the children that they should go to confession regularly and that they should ask their parents to take them there?

Of course they should go to confession before receiving their first Holy Communion!

Telling them that they should receive the sacrament frequently and telling them that they are required to receive it during lent (if that was true) are two very different things. It’s like saying “go to mass as often as possible” and “you must go to mass on Sundays and Holy Days”. The first is a general statement of principle, the second is a canonical requirement. I would be obliged to tell them if there was a canonical requirement to receive the sacrament during lent. :slight_smile:

I don’t mean to be too critical but I once had the same misconception. The “Easter season” is not lent. It is the time from Easter to Pentacost.

thank you cajun2core most people forget the Easter season goes on for 8 weeks. Then we hit ordinary time again. April 24 to June 12.

For purposes of the obligation to receive Holy Communion, the Easter Season begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Trinity Sunday.

Following up on Baltobetsy it really is no burden to receive during that four month period. To meet that precept of the Church it should be doable for Catholics in the USA

Does anybody know what document defines the Easter Season? I have seen conflicting references.

The ‘Easter season’ is from Easter Sunday to Pentecost. This is defined in several places, for example, in the General Norms for the Liturgical Year and Calendar, nos. 22-26.

For the purposes of the reception of communion during “paschal time” (as in c. 920.2), that is extended back into Lent. For the USA, it is to the first Sunday of Lent. Those who put together the Code of Canon Law intended to start at Palm Sunday. I can’t point to a publicly available document to support these claims.

While the obligation to confess is limited to mortal sin, once a year, it should be pointed out that this minimal obligation presumes that such a person also only receives Communion once a year. This confession is preparation for Communion. Anyone who is conscious of mortal sin must confess before receiving Communion, whatever time of year it is. Most people receive communion more often than once a year. So, if they are in mortal sin they must first confess before receiving, whether that is once or fifty times a year.


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