An Outline for Individual Confessions

Getting Started

Prepare to make a good Confession by doing a thorough Examination of Conscience.

Reconciliation Room: When you enter the Reconciliation Room, you can kneel behind the screen for privacy, or you can sit in the chair facing Father.

Confessional: Enter the first available empty side compartment, and kneel down on the kneeler. There is a button underneath the kneeler that sends a signal to alert Father that you are there. You will see a veiled screen directly in front of you. Father is in the centre compartment, behind the screen. He may be hearing the Confession of the person who is on the other side. You will hear a "click" from his side of the screen, when the other person is done, and it is your turn to make your confession. Some priests will greet you or give you a blessing; others simply wait quietly for you to begin.

If you need help to make a good Confession, say, "Father, I need your help to make a good Confession." He will then help you by asking you some questions. Answer his questions by telling him the truth in a simple and straightforward way.

Outline for Individual Confession

Begin by making the Sign of the Cross and saying "In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."

Next, mention how long it has been since your last confession. Example: "Father, it has been ______________ since my last Confession." If this is your first Confession, say, "Father, this is my first Confession," and then mention how long it has been since you were baptized.

Next, mention all the things you did that you are sorry for since your last Confession. Indicate when you are finished doing this by saying something like, "For these and for all my sins I am very sorry."

Father will then offer you some advice. After giving you some advice, he may ask you for your Act of Contrition. If he asks for this, say,

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. Amen

Then, he will give you some prayers to say when you come back into the Church (this is called your "penance"), and he will give you the Absolution.

When he is finished giving you the Absolution, he will bless you and kindly dismiss you. It is nice to say "Thank you, Father," at this point.

Come back out into the Church and signal to the next person who is waiting for Confession that it is now their turn. Then, quietly say your prayers in the Church.

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