Guide to Confession

Before Confession

-Pray and Prepare-

Confession can seem intimidating for a lot of people, but with some simple preparation, it can
be a healing encounter with Christ that will leave you filled with peace.

Consider using an examination of conscience to reflect in preparation for your confession. Check out one of these three versions of the examination of conscience – one based on the Ten Commandments, one for children, and one based on the Beatitudes.

During Confession

-How do I go to confession?-

Greeting: The priest will welcome you; he may say a short blessing or read a Scripture passage.

Sign of the Cross: Together, you and the priest will make the Sign of the Cross. You may then begin your confession with these or similar words: “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been (give days, months, or years) since my last confession.”

Confession: Confess all your sins to the priest. If you are unsure what to say, ask the priest for help. When you are ­ finished, conclude with these or similar words: “I am sorry for these and all my sins.”

Penance: The priest will propose an act of penance. The penance might be prayer, a work of mercy, or an act of charity. He might also counsel you on how to better live a Christian life.

Act of Contrition: Say an Act of Contrition, expressing sorrow for your sins and resolving to leave sin behind and live in the light!

Absolution: The priest then blesses you in the person of Christ as he says the prayer of Absolution which frees you from your sins

After Confession

-Go in Peace-

Feed the hungry – Offer your Lenten fasting as a prayer for the hungry, or volunteer at a food pantry.

Visit the sick – Send thoughtful notes to members of your parish or community who are sick, or visit residents in a nursing home.

Shelter the homeless – Make blankets to donate to a homeless shelter, or volunteer with Habitat for Humanity.

For more ways to put mercy into action this Lent, check out our Works of Mercy activity worksheet!