HOW TO GO TO CONFESSION
How to Confess:
- Before you go to confession, spend time with an examination of conscience. This will help you to remember any sins you may have forgotten. While reading through the examination of conscience, you may want to make a list to ensure that you don't forget anything during your confession.
- Then, you can look up a confession time at a parish near you.
- Before you head out the door on your way to confession, print out the step-by-step confession guide which will walk you through the sacrament.
Did you know: You are obliged to confess only mortal sins, but confessing all sins is recommended. If you are in doubt about whether a sin is mortal or venial, mention your doubt to the confessor. Remember also, confession of venial sins is very helpful for avoiding sin and advancing toward Heaven.
Necessary conditions for a sin to be mortal:
- Serious Matter
- Sufficient Reflection
- Full Consent of the Will
- Have I ever deliberately failed to confess a past serious sin, or have I willfully disguised or hidden such a sin?
Note: The deliberate concealing of a mortal sin invalidates one´s confession and makes the person guilty of another mortal sin. Remember that the confession is private under the Seal of Confession, i.e., it is a mortal sin for the priest to reveal the matter of one´s confession to anyone else.
- Have I been guilty of irreverence for this sacrament by failing to examine my conscience carefully?
- Have I any habits of serious sin to confess first (e.g. impurity, drunkenness, etc.)?
THE STEPS OF CONFESSION
Once you arrive at the door of the confessional, follow this step-by-step guide to make your confession:
- Remember, you have the option of going to confession anonymously behind a screen or face-to-face.
- After being greeted by the priest, make the sign of the cross and say:
"Bless me Father for I have sinned. It has been (state how long) since my last confession."
- Now, list your sins simply and honestly to the priest. Remember, the priest is strictly forbidden from discusses your sins outside the confessional, and he has heard many, many sins before yours. He is acting in the person of Christ to bring you healing.
- After listing all of your sins you have the opportunity to ask for advice or direction.
- After the priest offers any direction, he will assign you penance.
- You will then be asked to make an Act of Contrition. There are many different versions of the Act of Contrition, but here is one example you may wish to use:
"My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do 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."
- The priest will then give you absolution and dismiss you, your sins forgiven.
- The final step is to give thanks to God for his mercy and do any penance you were assigned.