Celebrating the Sacrament of Penance

The forgiveness of sins involves four parts: 

               Contrition: a sincere sorrow for having offended God, and the most important act of the penitent. There can be no forgiveness of sin if we do not have sorrow and a firm resolve not to repeat our sin.
               Confession: confronting our sins in a profound way by speaking about them- aloud- to God through the priest. 
               Penance: an important part of our healing is the “penance” we perform in reparation for our sins. 
               Absolution: the priest, by virtue of his ordination, speaks the words by which “God, the Father of Mercies” reconciles a sinner to Himself through the merits of the Cross

Rite of Reconciliation
The Sacrament may be celebrated face-to-face or anonymously, with a screen between you and the priest.

1. The penitent (you) and the priest begin with the sign of the Cross, saying:
               “In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”

2. The priest urges the penitent to have confidence in God with these or similar words:
               “May the Lord be in your heart and help you to confess your sins with the true sorrow.”

3. The priest may read or say a passage from Sacred Scripture after which the penitent then states:
               “Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been [tell him however many days, weeks, months or years] since my last confession.”

4. The penitent then states his or her sins. For the confession to be valid, the penitent must confess all of the mortal sins he or she is aware of having committed since the last confession, be sorry for them, and have a firm purpose of amendment to try not to commit the same sins in the future. 

5. After this, the priest will general give some advice to the penitent and impose a penance.

6. Then he will ask the penitent to make an act of contrition. The penitent may do so in his or her own words, or may say one of many memorized acts of contrition like the following from the Rite of Penance:
     Act of Contrition
               “O 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.” (#45)
               “Lord God, in your goodness have mercy on me; do not look on my sins, but take away all my guilt. Create in me a clean heart and renew within me an upright spirit.” (#92)

7. After this the priest will pray the prayer of absolution, which absolves the penitent from their sins.

8. The penitent makes the sign of the Cross and answers:

9. The priest will then dismiss the penitent with a short prayer and encouragement.

10. The penitent should try to fulfill the penance imposed as soon as possible.