How to go to Confession
- Prepare by praying and reflecting on the sins you have committed, those things you have done or failed to do, for which you are sorry. Make a list if this will help you recall things.
- Enter the confessional (when the light is green) and kneel down.
- When the window opens, begin by saying, “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned.” Tell the Priest when you last went to Confession (this can be a general time frame).
- Tell the Priest your sins.
- As part of his ministry to heal and console, the Priest may offer some advice, counsel or encouragement to you.
- The Priest will assign you a penance – which should be done immediately upon leaving the confessional if possible.
- The Priest will ask you to make an Act of Contrition.
- The Priest will grant you Absolution. You may then leave.
- There is never any reason to be nervous or afraid of going to Confession! The Priest will gladly help you if you forget what to do. The Priest is there to offer you the presence of Jesus – Who loves us so much and waits for us to come to Him to ask for forgiveness.
- Don’t worry that “Father may recognize my voice” or know who I am. Priests hear so many confessions it is impossible to remember such things! The Priest has one task and privilege: to tell the penitent how much God loves them and how much He forgives.
- Should you happen to get a confessor (Priest) you are not comfortable with or who is not giving you the guidance you need, simply find another Priest – but don’t stop going to Confession! We all shop around for doctors to find just the right one, we can do the same thing with confessors.
- If you feel you need more spiritual direction than can be provided briefly in the confessional, please do not hesitate to contact a Priest – the Priests are here to help walk your spiritual journey with you!
An Act of Contrition
O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended You and I detest all my sins because of Your just punishment, but most of all because they offend 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 occasions of sin. Amen.
You may find it useful to consult one of the many good guides for an Examination of Conscience found on Catholic websites.