Confession is not difficult, but it does require preparation.
Before going to the confessional, please review the following. Also, make sure to review these points with your children.
In preparation for Confession
- Examine your conscience.
- Be sorry for your sins, including the firm purpose to avoid these and all sins in the future, and to give up all occasions of sin. Without this, the priest cannot take your sins away.
REMEMBER: Thinking that you may fall again in the future does not negate your good intention here and now – the intention here and now to be done with the sin is sufficient for absolution.
When in the Confessional
- Begin with “Bless me Father for I have sinned, it has been [time] since my last confession. I am [age, status (married with children, single, widow, etc), gender], and these are my sins ..”
Confess your sins to the priest according to their number and kind, beginning with mortal sins.
REMEMBER: While it is possible that a habit may mitigate the gravity of a sin, we cannot know in each case how this might apply. Therefore, we treat all objectively mortally sins as mortal sin.
- End your confession with “for these and all my sins I am truly sorry,” or words to that effect (the priest should not have to ask you if that is all you have to confess).
- Say an Act of Contrition when the priest asks you to recite it, thinking about the words you are saying, unless you have a question for Father about your confession, his advice or penance, or some other matter appropriately brought up in the confessional – this would be the time to ask it.
- When the priest finishes giving you absolution, you may say “Thank you Father,” or some other suitable closing.