9:00am ( no 7:00am or 8:30am)
"Christ instituted the Sacrament of Penance..for those who, since Baptism, have fallen..."
(Catechism of the Catholic Church #1446)
“...the deepest spiritual joy each of us can sense is the freedom from whatever would separate us from God and the restoration of our friendship with so loving and merciful a Father.”
- Most Reverend Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, Pastoral Letter, God's Mercy and Loving Presence
The Act of Contrition found on the Archdiocesan form is a great one but many will not be familiar with it. While I learned it when I made my first penance and can still say it from memory, it is not the one I use today. It has been revised a couple of times since then which is why it is hard for priests to help penitents say the Act of Contrition.
Some have learned this act of contrition in this way: “O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended You, and I detest all my sins because of Your just punishments. But most of all because I have offended You, my God, Who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve with the help of your grace to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin. Amen.” The Act of Contrition that I have come to most like is the Jesus Prayer: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God. Have mercy on me a sinner.”
The key to the act of contrition is of course not the words that are used but that it is said from the heart. Penitents should feel free to bring into the Penance Room a written act of contrition. It could be one they wrote themselves, someone else’s act of contrition or the penitent could simply say a prayer of sorrow spontaneously. The difficulty with trying to say the Act of Contrition during Reconciliation from memory is that the focus can be on trying to remember rather than trying to experience and express deep repentance. Penitents should do whatever is best for themselves.