The Holy See
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 January 31, 2000 

The day dedicated to communion
Penitential liturgy of personal
and community renewal




General indications 

1. The celebration of a community penitential liturgy is proposed which should include individual confession and absolution, in a way so as to offer to all the consecrated persons an opportunity to prepare themselves worthily for the celebration of the Jubilee. For this reason it is appropriate to have an adequate number of confessors on hand and these should be placed in locations that are clearly marked. 

2. Some indications from the Penitential Rite, with other complementary suggestions, are now offered. 

3. Depending upon the community, a day of fasting might be considered opportune so that the fruits of this renunciation, accompanied by other contributions of money or produce, can be offered to the poor and needy. The Jubilee, for which we are preparing, will in this way be marked by prayer, fasting, and alms-giving. These are signs of communion with God, reconciliation with one-self, and charity towards our neighbour. 

4. The liturgy should be sober. The Cross and a symbol of Holy Water should be prominently displayed in the midst of the assembly.




I. Initial Rite 

As the President and the other ministers proceed towards the altar, the assembly sings a penitential hymn. 


Grace, mercy and peace to you from God our Father and from Jesus Christ His Son, our Lord.

The president of the celebration addresses the assembly with these or similar words: 

Brothers and Sisters, 

Today our Lord invites us to live a sacramental encounter with him, having in mind the mystery of the communion to which He has called us. 

"By constantly promoting fraternal love", the Pope writes, "the consecrated life has shown that sharing in the Trinitarian communion can change human relationships and create a new type of solidarity. In this way it speaks to people both of the beauty of fraternal community and of the ways which actually lead to it. Consecrated persons live 'for' God and 'from' God, and precisely for this reason they are able to bear witness to the reconciling power of grace, which overcomes the divisive tendencies present in the human heart and in society"(VC, 41). 

In this penitential liturgy we want to ask pardon for ourselves and for everyone, in order that the link of communion with God, between us and between everyone, is reinforced through the gift of the Holy Spirit that will be given with the remission of our sins through Christ Jesus our Brother and Redeemer. 

The Father has manifested his great mercy by reconciling Himself with the world through Christ, who re-established peace with his precious blood. Jesus not only calls us to penitence, but he also welcomed sinners and reconciled them with the Father. "Let us draw near, therefore, to the mighty throne of grace, to receive mercy and find grace and be helped at the suitable moment" (He 4:16). 

Silent prayer. 

The celebrant says one of the prayers from the Rite.


II. Liturgy of the Word 

Suggested readings: 

1st Reading: Romans 12. The life of charity in fraternal communion.
Responsorial psalm: From Psalm 50.
Gospel: Jn 13:34‑35 and 15:10-13. I give you a new commandment. 


For the homily one might use the prepared text: Communion-Ecumenism (App. I.B). 

Examination of conscience 

If the opportunity exists, a reader might suggest some considerations for a brief examination of conscience.


III. Rite of Reconciliation 

The priest invites everyone to kneel. He, standing before the cross, invites all to penitence with these words: 

Brothers and sisters, 

God calls us once again to conversion. Let us pray to obtain the grace of a new life in Christ our Lord. Let us pray together to the Lord. 

Kyrie eleison. 

Lord Jesus, who healed the sick and opened the eyes of the blind, you who absolved the sinful woman and confirmed Peter in your love, pardon our sins and give us a new heart so that we may live in perfect communion. 

Kyrie eleison. 

Lord Jesus, who wanted to be called the friend of sinners, through the mystery of your death and resurrection, free us from our sins and give us your peace, so that we can bring forth the fruits of charity, justice and truth. 

Kyrie eleison. 

Lord Jesus Christ, Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, give us reconciliation with the Father in the grace of the Holy Spirit, and make of us new creatures for the praise of your glory. 

Kyrie eleison. 

Lord Jesus Christ, have pity on us in your great mercy, do not look on our sins and cancel all of our guilt; create in us a pure heart and renew in us a spirit of strength and sanctity. 

Kyrie eleison. 

Lord Jesus Christ, you who have commanded us to love one another even unto the giving up our life, infuse in us your Spirit of charity and unity, of communion and mercy, in order that we may always love and pardon ourselves as you love and pardon us. 

Kyrie eleison. 

All stand and sing, in preparation for confession, the prayer of Our Lord: 

Our Father... 

In silence the President sprinkles holy water over the whole assembly as a sign of purification and a remembrance of Baptism. 

Individual Confessions 

Adequate time for confessions should be reserved.
During this time some psalms or penitential hymns may be sung.
During this time of confession, the people may lay the gifts of money or produce that they intend to offer for the needy at the foot of the Cross. These should be placed in appropriate containers.

Thanksgiving Prayer 

At the conclusion of the confession period, the President invites the assembly to thank our Lord for the gift of graces received, by singing the Magnificat.

At the conclusion of this song, the President concludes the celebration with this prayer: 

Father of mercy and God of every consolation, you who do not want the death but the conversion of sinners, help your people, so that they can return to you and live.

Grant that we may always hear your voice, let ourselves be guided by your Holy Spirit in the way of life, and, thankful for your pardon, progress in all ways and always adhere to Christ your Son who has called us to follow him in the way of the evangelical counsels.

He Who is God and lives and reigns in the unity of the Holy Spirit forever and ever.



The President invites the assembly to exchange the sign of peace, while singing an appropriate hymn.


IV. Final Rite 

Concluding Benediction and dismissal 

The celebrating priest blesses the assembly with one of the formulas from the Ritual and dismisses the people.


The assembly leaves praising God with an appropriate hymn.