What to Say When You Are Making Your Confession

What to Say When You Are Making Your Confession

If you would like to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation
but it has been awhile, here’s what you do…

Thank God
Be grateful to the Spirit for inspiring you to seek out the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  Have confidence that God, who brought you to the sacrament, will heal you.

Prepare Yourself
You should prepare yourself to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation by making an Examination of Conscience.  That is, prayerfully recall your sins.  Some will be specific actions.  Some present a more general pattern of behavior.  There are many resources to help us make a good Examination of Conscience.  You will find links for age appropriate examinations at the bottom of this page.

Go To The Priest
Like most parishes, St. Patrick has a regularly scheduled, weekly opportunity for celebrating the sacrament.  You might consider making an appointment.

Make the Sign of the Cross
When you begin your confession you should make the Sign of the Cross.  You can indicate how long it has been since you have celebrated the sacrament.  Some begin with the words, “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned,” but you don’t have to.  Let the priest know your sins.  If you are having difficulty getting started, be sure and ask the priest for his help.  You might just say, “Father, can you assist me.” As you are concluding your confession, you may say to the priest, “For these sins, and those I truly do not remember, I ask for forgiveness and advice.”  The priest may offer counsel to help you identify patterns of wrong doing and the habitual struggles that may be leading to sin.  He may encourage you and suggest ways to overcome these habitual areas of sin.

Receive a Penance
The priest will recommend some action for you to take after you leave.  Usually he will ask you to say some prayers or perform a simple act of charity.  Like confession, penance is a concrete action.  You have named your sins, now you perform an act to indicate the sincerity of your heart and make amends.  If you have harmed someone, you will need to repair the damage as much as possible.

Pray for Forgiveness
The priest will invite you to say a prayer of sorrow or contrition aloud.  You may use the Act of Contrition below but you may also simply pray from your heart.  The point is to indicate your sorrow to God for your sins and your resolution to do better.

Act of Contrition
Oh my God, I am sorry for having offended you.  In
choosing to wrong and failing to do good, I have
sinned against you whom I should love above all
things.  I firmly intend, with your help, to do penance,
to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin.
Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us.  In
His name, my God, have mercy.  Amen.

Receive Absolution

The priest will then speak the words of absolution and God forgives our sins.

God, the Father of all mercies,
through the death and resurrection of his Son
has reconciled the world to himself
and sent the Holy Spirit among us
for the forgiveness of sins;
through the ministry of the Church
may God give you pardon and peace,
and I absolve you from your sins
in the name of the Father,
and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. 

Come.  Experience the Welcome and Healing That Only Christ Can Give!