Reconciliation, or penance, is one of Catholicism's seven sacraments, and followers are expected to go to confession at least once a year. Rest assured that the priest, bound by the seal of confession, will not divulge your sins.
You will need
- A conscience
- A priest
- A confessional or other private place
- The desire to seek forgiveness
- The will to be better
Step 1 Examine actions since last confession Examine your actions since your last confession. Reflect on those that have hurt other people or distanced you from God. Perhaps you’ve acted selfishly with a friend, or treated a family member unkindly. It goes without saying that you should already be reflecting on the heavy hitters, like adultery or theft.
Step 2 Find out confession schedule Call your local church or consult the parish bulletin to find out when confessions are scheduled. If necessary, you can also arrange a different time with a priest.
Step 3 Enter the confessional Enter the confessional or the designated meeting place.
You do not have to be in a classic confessional to receive the sacrament of reconciliation.
Step 4 Greet the priest Greet the priest.
Step 5 Tell priest last confession date Say, “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It’s been X days, months, or years since my last confession.”
Step 6 Tell priest of hurtful actions Tell the priest about the hurtful actions you thought about earlier.
Rather than giving him a laundry list of sins, take the opportunity to have an open dialogue with your confessor.
Step 7 Receive penance from priest Receive your penance from the priest, which is usually some form of prayer or reconciliation with another person.
Step 8 Say the Act of Contrition Say the Act of Contrition.
Step 9 Receive priest's absolution Receive the priest’s absolution, which frees you of your sins.
Step 10 Do your penance Do your penance and resolve, as best you can, to avoid the same sins in the future.
Step 11 Celebrate your forgiveness Celebrate your forgiveness—just try not to commit any sins while doing so.
Did You Know:
A priest cannot break the confessional seal under penalty of automatic excommunication—even to report a crime.