Many a times, I find some people coming for confession without having a clue about how to make a confession with a priest. I am not speaking about examination of conscience here, but about the procedure during the confession itself.
Perhaps it would be helpful if we refresh our memory on how it is done, especially if there are among us who have not been regular in going for confession.
1. Begin by making the sign of the cross, then say: “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It is (or has been) …………weeks (or months, or years) since my last confession."
Note: Often I see people coming for confession and omitting this step. Your parish priest or the priest hearing your confession would need to know when was the last time you made a confession so he can later advise you accordingly.
2. Say: "These are my sins." Then confess your sins. Do not hide anything. Let it all out but there is no need to go into too much detail, unless the priest feels it is necessary. For example, if you committed adultery, just say you committed adultery and say how many times it happened (once, twice, etc.). There is no need to go into the nitty gritty details such as how you did it, with whom, location, how you felt, how the other person felt, etc.
3. When you are finished, tell the priest you are sorry for
your sins and ask for forgiveness for those sins as well as any you may have forgotten to
4. The priest will then advise you accordingly.
5. The priest will then give you a
penance to perform and will ask you to say the Act of Contrition. A simple form of the Act of Contrition is:
O My God, I am very sorry that I have sinned against you; Because you are so good and with your help I will not sin again.
6. The priest will absolve you of your sins through a
prayer ending with words similar to this: “I absolve you of your sins in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy
Spirit.” Make the sign of the cross as he
7. The priest will then dismiss you by saying
some variation of “go in peace.” Reply,
“Thanks be to God” and exit the confessional.
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