It’s great that recently the number of people finding coming to Confession at St Chrysostom’s helpful has risen. The Sacrament of Confession can be such a help and encouragement to move forward in our spiritual lives. We’ve recently slightly amended the form of Confession at Church and we thought this would then be a good time to remind ourselves about Confession. So here is a simple guide. Remember also a priest will also guide you at the time if this is your first confession.
Before You Go…
Examine your conscience, that is, reflect on what sins you have committed. To guide you, you could Google “examination of conscience” and you’ll find many resources to help you. (This RC source has some examples). It’s alright to make a list to bring with you to confession if that helps.
Remember a priest is bound never to reveal what is said in confession to anyone else. In addition outside of confession a priest will never discuss with you anything you mentioned in confession unless you choose to raise it.
- Introduction. When you come to the priest, say Bless me, for I have sinned. The priest will then say:
The Lord be in your heart and upon your lips that you may truly and humbly confess your sins: In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
2. List the sins you have committed that came to mind when doing your examination of conscience. Don’t be too general (like, “I haven’t been a good person”), but a lot of detail is not necessary either (you don’t need to tell the whole story of how a sin came about). Don’t worry about saying your sins – the priest has heard it all before!. Say:
3. The priest will then briefly respond and will suggest something for you to do or pray as a response to God’s mercy. This is sometimes called a ‘penance.’
4. The priest will then declare the words of absolution. Usually in this, or a similar form.
(You may wish to make the sign of the cross as the priest says the absolution.)
5. The priest will conclude using these or similar words:
The Lord has put away all your sins. Go in peace, and pray for me, a sinner also.
You then leave, but stay in church to say the penance the priest has given you and say also a prayer of thanksgiving for your confession.
Confessions are heard at St Chrysostom’s Church on Sundays at 10am, Thursdays after 5pm Mass, at announced times in Lent, and before Christmas, and of course you can ask a priest and make a time to suit you.