Been a long time? No worries! We’ll prepare you in just two steps.
Confession, Step by Step
- Enter the confessional – sounds obvious, but hey, it’s been a long time! Confessionals at Christ the King Church have a sliding screen, so it’s your choice to see the priest or not. The confessionals also have both chairs and kneelers and are large enough to accommodate wheelchairs.
- The old formula still works to start off: “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been X years [or months or weeks] since my last confession.” Don’t worry about admitting that it’s been a long time. The point is to give context for your sins – and anyway the priest has probably heard longer lapses!
- Now the tough part. Confess your sins. It’s important to confess all the major sins you remember. For more context, it’s helpful to say how many times or how frequently you committed each sin. To better prepare you, use an examination of conscience. The US Bishops website has a guide for every person.
- The priest may ask questions or give counsel, if time permits.
- The priest will likely assign a penance, often a simple prayer like the Our Father or Hail Mary to demonstrate your gratitude for absolution. Pray it after you leave the confessional but before you leave the church.
- Pray out loud an act of contrition. There’s plenty of versions, so choose your favorite.
- The priest will give you absolution. Once you hear, “Go in peace,” you can leave.