(a.k.a. Penance or Reconciliation)

“Confessional, The”

Remember that all Catholics have the solemn duty to go to Confession at least once a year, for Easter.
  1. Examine your conscience beforehand. Don't enter the confessional if you don't know what you are going to confess. If you need help, click HERE for an examination of conscience.
  2. After the priest greets you in the name of Christ, make the sign of the cross. He may choose to recite a reading from Scripture, after which you say: "Bless me Father for I have sinned. It has been (state how long) since my last confession. These are my sins."
    • Tell your sins simply and honestly to the priest.
    • You might even want to discuss the circumstances and the root causes of your sins and ask the priest for advice or direction.
    • Tell the priest your sins in kind (what you did; not platitudes or abstract generalizations; but no whole stories or unnecessary details either).
    • Tell the priest your sins in number (how many times, to the best of your recollection; or how often).
    • Tell the priest YOUR sins, not the sins of others.
  3. Have true sorrow for you sins
    • I recognize that I have offended God.
    • I wish I wouldn't have done it.
    • With God's help, I'm going to do everything I can to not only abstain from sin, but even from the near occasion of sin (situations, places, people).
    • Remember that it's not a matter of informing the priest about what you have done, but about been truly repentant and desirous to change.
  4. When done, tell the priest something like "For these sins I'm truly sorry and I ask God's mercy and your absolution".
  5. Listen to what the priest tells you and remember your penance. Ask the priest if you're not sure.
  6. Say your act of contrition. Memorize one (click HERE for options) or read the one that is available in the Confessional.
  7. Wait for the priest to give you absolution. He will say, "God the Father of mercies... and I absolve you from your sins in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, [make the sing of the cross] and of the Holy Spirit."
  8. The priest may dismiss you with these or similar words, "Your sins are forgiven, go in peace".
  9. You may answer "Thanks be to God".
  10. Then say, "Thank you Father" and you may leave the confessional at his point. Leave the door open for the next person.
  11. Do your penance as soon as possible. If the penance was to pray some specific prayers (for example one Ourfather, and one Hailmary) you can pray those immediately in the church. If for some reason you can't at that moment, please, remember to do it at your earliest convenience. It is a necessary element of your process of spiritual healing as well as an act of justice, loving God for the time we didn't loved him when we sinned.

​​Prayer Before the Sacrament of Confession

O most merciful God! I sincerely desire to leave all my evil ways and to confess my sins with all sincerity to you. Have mercy on me, a sinner. Give me a lively faith and a firm hope in the Passion of my Redeemer. Mary, most holy, pray for me that I may make a good confession. Amen.