The Sacrament of Penance
The Great Sacrament of God’s Mercy
“May the Lord Jesus welcome you.
He came to call sinners, not the just. Have confidence in him.”

  1. Spend a brief while in preparation. The Examination of Conscience below may be helpful.
  2. As you enter the Reconciliation Room (confessional) the priest will welcome you, and you and the priest will make the Sign of the Cross out loud together (even if you can’t see one another.) You may sit across from the priest or stay behind the screen.
  3. The priest ma read a line or two from Scripture, reminding you how much God loves you and that God’s mercy is unlimited.
  4. The priest invites you to confess your sins: begin by saying:
    Bless me Father for I have sinned; my last confession was ____ (weeks, months or year ago) and these are my sins.
    You may conclude by saying I am sorry for these and all my sins, especially sins of ____________. (You may name a sin with which you have particular difficulty.)
  5. The priest will give you a penance (something to help repair the harm caused by sin) and ask you to make an Act of Contrition:
    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 I have offended you, my God, who 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 occasions of sin.
  6. The priest will offer sacramental absolution (the Church’s prayer of forgiveness) and conclude with a prayer of praise and thanks.
    Priest: Give thanks to the Lord for He is good.
    Penitent: God’s mercy endures forever.
    “Go in peace.”

Examination of Conscience for Children:

Examination of Conscience – General Guide:

I.  The Lord says: “You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart.”
Do I love God above all things?
Do I follow the commandments?
Do I try to grow in understanding of my faith?
Do I share my life with God in prayer?
Do I reverence God’s name?
Do I go to Mass on Sundays and holy days?
Do I “worship” false gods like money, superstitions, or power?

II.  The Lord says: “Love one another as I have loved you.”
Do I have genuine love for my neighbor?
Do I contribute to the well-being and happiness of my family?
Am I patient and genuine with others?
Do I share what I have with those in need?
Do I make myself aware of victims of oppression, misfortune & poverty?
Am I a hard-working, hones, responsible employee?
Am I truthful and fair, have I injured others with lies or rash judgment?
Have I stolen or damaged the property of others?
Do I use positions of authority to help and serve others?
Have I done violence to others?
Am I estranged from others through anger and insult?
Do I harbor hatred or revenge or refuse to make peace?
Do I presume goodness in others?
Do I work towards healthy and right relationships?

III.  Christ our Lord says: “Be perfect as your Father is perfect.”
Where is my life leading me?
Am I inspired by the hope of eternal life?
Have I tried to grow in the spiritual life, through prayer, Scripture and the sacraments?
Have I imposed my will on others without respecting their freedom?
Have I made use of the gifts, time and health God has given me?
Have I patiently accepted the sorrows and disappointments of life?

What Must I Do? The Sacrament of Reconciliation and Young Adults

“Thou Shalt Not Have False Gods Before Me” (Image by Catholic Tradition)