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How To Go To Confession

1. PREPARATION: Before going to confession, the penitent compares his or her life with the Ten Commandments, the Beatitudes, and the example of Christ and then prays to God for forgiveness.

2. GOING TO CONFESSION: After the priest welcomes you, both of you make the sign of the cross. Then you may wish to indicate facts about your life, the time of the last confession, difficulties in leading the Christian life, and anything else that may help the priest.

3. THE WORD OF GOD: You or the priest may read one of the suggested scriptural passages.

4. CONFESSION OF SINS AND THE ACT OF PENANCE: Confess your sins. The priest then offers suitable advice and imposes an act of penance or satisfaction, which may include prayer, self-denial, or works of mercy.

5. PRAYER OF THE PENITENT: Pray a prayer expressing sorrow for your sins and resolving not to sin again. Two suggested prayers are given here:

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 Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. In his name, my God, have mercy.
(Rite of Penance, no. 45)


Lord Jesus Christ, you are the Lamb of God; you take away the sins of the world.
Through the grace of the Holy Spirit restore me to friendship with your Father, cleanse me from every stain of sin in the blood you shed for me, and raise me to new life
for the glory of your name.
(Rite of Penance, no. 91)

6. ABSOLUTION: The priest extends his hands over your head and pronounces the formula of absolution, making the sign of the cross over your head during the final words. You answer, ‘Amen.”

7. PROCLAMATION OF PRAISE: Praise the mercy of God and give him thanks in a short invocation taken from Scripture, such as “Rejoice in the Lord and sing for joy, friends of God” (Ps 32:1-7, 10-1 1), “The Lord has remembered his mercy” (Lk 1:46-55), or “Blessed be God who chose us in Christ” (Eph 1:3-10) (Rite of Penance, no. 206).

8. DISMISSAL: The priest dismisses you with the command to go in peace. Continue to express your conversion through a life renewed according to the Gospel and more and more steeped in the love of God.
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