A Community Penance Service is when the parish as a community gets together at least twice a year (Lent and Advent) in preparation for individual private Confessions. While a private Confession on a regular Saturday has the benefit of personal preparation in the silence of your heart, there are many advantages in participating in a Community Penance Service:
-You have the comfort of knowing that you are not alone in your sinfulness and that you are a pilgrim among pilgrims.
-It is organized, with appropriate scripture readings and music.
-There will be a thorough examination of conscience to help you remember areas that you might otherwise forget.
-It enhances the community spirit of the parish.
-It recognizes that we are one Church in constant need of conversion.
-And if you do not have a personal priest for Confessions, and would be embarrassed to go to a priest who knows you (and/or who works with you), there are plenty of priests from neighboring parishes and ministries who are present to hear your Confession.
To help you prepare for Confession, download the document "How to Go to Confession" from USCCB HERE