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Offices Worship Sacraments Penance/Confession

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In the sacrament of Penance (Confession, Reconciliation) Catholics confess their sins and promise to strive again to conform to Christ. Through this, the process of forgiveness and healing begins.

Going to Confession

Watch this short video on how to go to confession.  Whether you frequently go to confession, or it's been months, years or even decades, this video walks you through preparing for the sacrament and what you can expect during your time in the confessional.  Click here to jump to our Preparation and What to Expect in the Confessional section.

Download "How to Go to Confession" (from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' website). Visit the USSCB's webpage on Confession here.


Prepare with an examination of conscience.  The USCCB's provides a variety of ways to prepare for the sacrament of reconciliation.  We've linked a few below. Click here to visit their website with more options for an examination of conscience.

What to expect in the confessional

Follow the simple steps below when going to confession.  For a more detailed outline, download "How to Go to Confession" from the USCCB's website (ENGLISH | SPANISH).

Sign of the Cross

After you enter the confessional, make the sign of the cross as you say, "Bless me Father for I have sinned..."


Confess your sins as best you can.  Name those things that came up in your examination of conscience.
You may conclude with, "For these and all the sins of my past life."

The priest may give you some pastoral advice based on what you confessed.


The priest will give you a penance.  It could be a prayer or action related to the sins you confessed...

Act of Contrition

"Lord Jesus, I'm sorry" or "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me a sinner"

Traditional Version:  O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended you, and I detest all my sins because of your just punishments, but most of all because they offend you, my God, you are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve with the help of your grace to sin no more and to avoid the near occasion of sin. Amen.


The priest will pray the Prayer of Absolution over you with his hand(s) extended.  When he says, "..and I absolve you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen." make the Sign of the Cross.


The priest may offer a verse of praise, "Give thanks to the Lord for he is good..."  You can respond with, "His mercy endures forever!" or some other verse of praise.

We bring our sins and struggles to our Lord and to the Church, represented by the person of the priest, when we come to the sacrament of Reconciliation. We confess our sins, our failures and our faults, promise to strive again to conform ourselves to Christ, and are forgiven. "The Lord never tires of forgiving. It is we who tire of asking for forgiveness." (Pope Francis, First Angelus as pope, March 17, 2013).

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