Download our confession guide and examination of conscience in your own language.
- Examine your conscience by reflecting on your sins.
- Tips for making a good confession:
- Don’t be too general (like, “I haven’t been a good person”), but a lot of detail isn’t necessary either (you don’t need to tell the whole story of how a sin came about).
- If you’re not sure if something is a sin, just ask the priest.
- This isn’t counseling, so unless you ask, the priest likely won’t give you advice.
- Begin: “In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Bless me Father for I have sinned. It has been [length of time] since my last confession. These are my sins…”
- When you finish: The priest will suggest something for you to do or pray (penance) as a response to God’s mercy. Remember what it is, because you’ll have to do it after the confession is over.
- The priest will then ask you to pray the Act of Contrition out loud, demonstrating your sorrow for your sins:
- "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 Saviour Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. In his name, my God, have mercy. Amen."
- When you finish, the priest will extend his hands in your direction and pray the Prayer of Absolution. You respond “Amen.”
- The priest will then likely say “God has freed you from your sins. Go in peace.”
- You can respond “Thanks be to God.”
- Don’t forget to do your penance. If it’s saying certain prayers, it’s best to do it right away in the church before you forget.