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Before going to confession, take
some time to prepare. Begin with
prayer, and reflect on your life since
your last confession. (See bottom for
help with your Examination of Conscience.)
6. Act of Contrition
After the priest has conferred your
penance, pray an Act of Contrition,
expressing sorrow for your sins and
resolving to sin no more:
The priest will welcome you;
he may say a short blessing or read
a Scripture passage.
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.
3. The Sign of the Cross
Together, you and the priest will
make the Sign of the Cross. You
may then begin your confession
by saying: “Bless me, Father, for I
have sinned. It has been [give days,
months or years] since my last
The priest will extend his hands over
your head and pronounce the words
of absolution. You respond, “Amen.”
Confess all your sins to the priest.
If you are unsure what to say, ask
the priest for help. When you are
finished, conclude with these or
similar words: “I am sorry for these
and all my sins.”
The priest will usually praise the
mercy of God and will invite you to
do the same. For example, the priest
might say, “Give thanks to the Lord
for he is good.” Your response would
be, “His mercy endures forever.”
The priest will propose an act of
penance. He might also counsel you
on how to better live a Christian life.
The priest will conclude, often
saying, “Go in peace.”
Examination of Conscience
A necessary preparation for our encounter with Christ in the Sacrament of Penance and Reconciliation is the Examination of Our Conscience in light of the Ten Commandments to see what we have done (sins of commission) and what we have failed to do (sins of omission) in relation to our call to love God, others, and ourselves. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your eyes to the truth as you look at yourself in light of the questions below.
The Ten Commandments
1. I, The Lord, am your God; you shall not have other gods besides me.
What thoughts, habits, desires, and possessions have become false gods in your life?
2. You shall not take the Name of the Lord your God in vain.
How have you fallen short of living in deep reverence to God’s Holy Name and Majesty?
3. Remember to keep holy the Lord’s Day.
Are you worshipping God at Mass and honoring God through your activities on Sunday?
4. Honor your father and your mother.
How can you commit more quality time to build and enhance your family relationships?
5. You shall not kill.
How are you actively promoting the sanctity of life from conception until natural death?
6. You shall not commit adultery.
How are you tempted to use God’s sacred design for sex and sexuality in selfish ways?
7. You shall not steal.
How are you working to assure that all people have the necessities to live and grow?
8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
How can you promote honesty, goodness, and truth in your daily words and actions?
9. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife.
How has your heart been tempted toward impure thoughts and desires?
10. You shall not covet your neighbor’s goods.
How have you replaced dependence upon God with the attachment to material goods?