A Guide to Confession

Why Go to Confession?

In addition to individual Reconciliation on Saturdays from 4PM-5PM, watch our bulletin for Parish Reconciliation Services during the Seasons of Advent and Lent in the Church. Reflective music, prayer and multiple priests will be on site to create an atmosphere of mercy and love.
 
Download a Confessional FAQ by Fr. Michael Hurley, OP
 

It's been awhile since I've been to confession, where do I begin?

Take a deep breath! The sacrament of reconciliation celebrates a moment of God's forgiveness and healing, so don't be anxious about doing it “wrong.” If you are truly sorry for your sins then there is really no wrong way to “do confession.” In order fruit from the sacrament, here are some tips for preparation:

Take the time before God to reflect on what you have done and what you failed to do. What were your real reasons? Don't try to ferret out every small sin – serious attitudes of sin come to mind readily. Be honest!

Arouse a heartfelt sorrow by reflecting on how your sins push you away from God and hurt others who need you. Ask for His forgiveness and healing!

What routines or habits rule your life? What positive patterns should you develop? Be realistic! Ask for guidance!

 

What kinds of things should I confess?

The sacrament of Reconciliation restores the life giving presence of God in our souls which is lost when-ever we turn our back on God by serious (or grave) sin. For a sin to be grave it must be (1) a serious matter, (2) which is freely, willing and (3) knowingly done. In other words, a grave sin is doing some-thing seriously wrong, which we know is wrong and still chose to do it anyway. We should always confess these sins. Yet there are many other ways in which we turn our back in less serious ways towards God. In these cases, don't worry about remembering every particular failing. Instead focus on patterns of behavior that you want to change. Keep in mind, conversion of heart requires change and growth. It is more than simply stopping some vice; it is about growing in the corresponding virtue. For example, if you are judgmental, then practice looking for and praising the good in others. Our task is to become

more like Christ. This begins with prayer, reflection and asking yourself what kind of person does God want me to become. Then commit yourself to taking practical, concrete steps towards that goal.

 Remember our feelings themselves are not morally good or bad. Morality begins with our deciding what we will do with our feelings. Also being tempted is not sinful; a thousand temptations do not equal one sin. Yet we must avoid putting ourselves in temptation's way, lest we easily fall into sin. Forgiveness is not the cessation of feeling angry or hurt, it begins with the commitment not to take revenge but act for the other's good.

 

Doesn't God always forgive us if we are sorry? Why do I have to confess my sins to a priest?

Of course God forgives us if we are sorry for our sins, and yet we can have difficulty both in honestly admitting our failures and in really being confident that God has forgiven us. God knows how difficult it can be for us to experience forgiveness, and so he gives us a sacramental guarantee. The first gift that the

Resurrected Christ gives to his apostles is the gift of peace and forgiveness. So although, after the crucifixion, the apostles lock themselves away in the upper room in fear and shame, the Resurrected Jesus breaks through their guilt, walks into the room and says “Peace be with you.” He then continues: “Whose sins you shall forgive they are forgiven them.” (John 20:23). So Christ gives the power to forgive sins to His Church, not for His sake, but for ours. When we leave the confessional, we can be confident that God has completely forgiven our sins. There is nothing so freeing as the feeling of real forgiveness. Enjoy it !

 

Now that I'm ready for Reconciliation, what are the steps of the sacrament?

There are four basic steps to the Rite of Reconciliation:

GREETING

The priest greets the penitent, and they begin with the sign of the cross:

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Then the penitent says:

Bless me Father, for I have sinned.

It has been (this is a moment of forgiveness, don't be embarrassed by length of time) since my last confession.

 

Confession of sins and Acceptance of Satisfaction

The penitent confesses his or her sins. If necessary, the priest helps the penitent to make an integral confession and gives suitable counsel.The priest proposes an act of penance which the penitent accepts to make satisfaction for sins and amendment of life.

 

Act of Contrition

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.

 

Absolution and Dismissal

The priest then prays the prayer of forgiveness and absolution and then concludes:

The Lord has freed you from your sins. Go in peace.

Confession/Reconciliation:
Saturday: 4:00 to 5:00 P.M.
Also By Appointment