The Sacrament of Reconciliation (the Sacrament of Penance or Confession) is an invitation for Catholics to experience the love and mercy of God the Father through the ministry of priests. Catholics can experience healing through forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with God and His Church.
“Do not be afraid to go to Confession! When one is in line to go to Confession, one feels all these things, even shame, but then when one finishes, one leaves free, grand, beautiful, forgiven, candid, and happy. This is the beauty of Confession.”
Catholics are always welcomed back to receive this sacrament – whether it has been two weeks or two decades since the last Confession. Often those who have gone to Confession relay experiencing peace and joy and feeling the weight come off their shoulders as they receive forgiveness for their sins.
- Introduction: Make the Sign of the Cross and say, “Bless me, Father, I have sinned. It has been _______ long since my last confession. These are my sins…..”
- Confession. List the sins that you have committed. You don’t need to give all the details that lead up to the sin.
- Penance. The priest will give you something to do or pray after the confession is over.
- Act of Contrition. The priest will ask you to pray an “Act of Contrition”, demonstrating your sorrow for your sin. This should be prayed out loud and does not need to be memorized (the Priest will help you with this part)
- Absolution. The priest will extend his hands and pray the Prayer of Absolution and a brief prayer. Respond with, “Thanks be to God”.
- Leave and do your penance. Your sins are forgiven.
- Before you go to Confession, reflect on what sins you have committed since your last Reconciliation. It is OK to bring a list.
- Two basic elements required for Christ’s forgiveness to occur is: the person who is undergoing conversion (the person confessing) and the priest (who in God’s name gives the person absolution from his sins).
- Your Confession is private. Priests cannot repeat something he has heard in Confession.
- This Sacrament can be repeated as often as necessary, but should be received at least once a year during Lent.
- We need grace to get to heaven. Serious sins that are committed with full knowledge and done on our own, surrender our grace. Reconciliation restores that grace.
Download A Take-Along Guide to Confession from our Friends at Busted Halo: Guide-to-Confession-Handout-color