How to "GO" to Confession | What do I say?
The forgiveness of sins involves four parts:
Contrition: a sincere sorrow for having offended God, and the most important act of the penitent. There can be no forgiveness of sin if we do not have sorrow and a firm resolve not to repeat our sin.
Confession: confronting our sins in a profound way by speaking about them —aloud— to the priest.
Penance: an important part of our healing is the “penance” the priest imposes in reparation for our sins.
Absolution: the priest speaks the words by which “God, the Father of Mercies” reconciles a sinner to Himself through the merits of the Cross.
Rite of Reconciliation of Individual Penitents (sometimes called Form 1)
The sacrament may be celebrated face-to-face or anonymously, with a screen between you and the priest. Choose the option that is the most comfortable for you.
1. The penitent (you) and the priest begin with the sign of the Cross, saying:
"In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."
2. The priest urges the penitent to have confidence in God with these or similar words:
"May the Lord be in your heart and help you to confess your sins with true sorrow."
3. The priest may read or say a passage from Sacred Scripture after which the penitent then states:
"Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been [tell him however many days, weeks, months or years] since my last confession."
4. The penitent then states his or her sins.
For the confession to be valid, the penitent must confess all of the mortal sins he or she is aware of having committed since the last confession, be sorry for them, and have a firm purpose of amendment to try not to commit the same sins in the future.
5. After this, the priest will generally give some advice to the penitent and impose a penance.
6. Then he will ask the penitent to make an act of contrition. The penitent may do so in his or her own words, or may say one of many memorized acts of contrition like the following from the Rite of Penance:
Act of Contrition
"Lord Jesus, you chose to be called the friend of sinners. By your saving death and resurrection free me from my sins. May your peace take root in my heart and bring forth a harvest of love, holiness and truth." (#90)
7. After this the priest will absolve the penitent in the following words:
"God, the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son, has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins; through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son + and of the Holy Spirit."
8. The penitent makes the sign of the Cross and answers:
9. The priest will then dismiss the penitent with a short prayer and encouragement.
10. The penitent should then immediately try to fulfill the penance imposed if it is something that can be done quickly.