Celebrating Reconciliation: Resources for Going to Confession

Wednesday, October 04 2006

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When ready to celebrate the sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession), these steps are involved.


Examination of conscience. We pray to the Holy Spirit for light and strength, examine our conscience in the light of the Scriptures and the Commandments, since our last Confession, and become truly sorry for our sins.

Going to Confession

Welcome: The priest welcomes the penitent. It is helpful if you indicate the time of your last Confession and anything else that will help the priest hearing your confession.
Scripture: A short passage of Scripture may be read.
Confession: Confess your sins and listen to the advice of the priest.
Penance: The priest proposes a good action or prayer to help make up for sin and deepen virtue.
Prayer of Sorrow (Act of Contrition): We pray expressing personal sorrow and asking for forgiveness.
Absolution: The priest grants absolution in the name of God and the Church.
Praise of God and Dismissal: The priest invites you to praise God and dismisses you with the command to go in peace.

Afterwards: We should spend some time in thanking God for forgiving us and restoring us to full life in Christ.


Do I centre my life on God, on fidelity to the Gospel and the Commandments?
Do I set aside time for personal prayer?

Do I keep Sunday by participating in the Eucharist? Is Sunday a day of prayer and rest?
Do I observe the penitential practices of the Church? Do I keep Lent as a time of prayer?

Do I behave as a Christian in daily and public life?  Is my faith reflected in my employment?
Have I taken property of others – including my employer? Am I envious of what others have?
Do I share my goods with those in need?
Do I respect the reputation of others?
Do I care for my family?

Do I model Christian life for my family: parents, wife, husband, children?
Do I exercise authority with genuine concern and responsibility? Do I give others the same respect that I expect for myself?

Have I dishonoured my body by thoughts or actions incompatible with Christian life?
Am I faithful to my marriage?  Do I set an example of committed single living?
Do I live out my commitments to my spouse and my children to the best of my ability and reflect God’s love and faithfulness?
How do I deal with the difficulties, failures and disappointments of life?

Do I tend to the spiritual, physical and medical needs of my body?
Can others see the grace of Baptism at work in my life?


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 Saviour Jesus Christ
suffered and died for us.
In his name, my God, have mercy.


Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God,
have mercy on me, a sinner.


Matthew 6.14-15: If you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

Mark 1.14b-15: Jesus came proclaiming the good news of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.”

Luke 15.7: I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.

Ephesians 5.1: Be imitators of God, as beloved children, and live in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.


Deuteronomy 6. 3-9: Love the Lord your God with your whole heart.

Jeremiah 7.21-26: Listen to my voice, and I will be your God, and you will be my people.

Hosea 14.2-10: Return to the Lord you God.

Joel 2.12-19: Turn to me with your whole heart.

Matthew 5.1-12: The Beatitudes
Luke 15.1-7: The Lost Sheep
Luke 15.11-32: The Prodigal Son

Mark 12.18-43: The first commandment.

Luke 19.1-10: The Son of Man has come to seek out and save what was lost.

John 8.1-11: Go and sin no more.

Romans 12.1-2, 9-19: Be transformed by the renewal of your mind.

Ephesians 5.1-14: You were once in darkness; walk as children of light.

1 John 4.16-21: God is love, and those who live in love, live in God, and God in them.

Psalm 13: Prayer for Deliverance
Psalm 25: Prayer for Guidance
Psalm 32: Joy of Forgiveness
Psalm 51: Have mercy on me Lord.
Psalm 123: Supplication for mercy


Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.
– His mercy endures for ever.

* * * *

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,
who has looked with favour
on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations
will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me
and holy is his name.

God has mercy on those who fear him,
from generation to generation.
The Lord has shown strength with his arm
and scattered the proud in their conceit,
casting down the mighty
from their thrones
and lifting up the lowly.

God has filled the hungry with good things
and sent the rich away empty.
He has come to the aid of his servant Israel,
to remember the promise of mercy,
the promise made to our forebears,
to Abraham and his children for ever.

(Luke 1.46-55; English Language Liturgical Consultation)


All-holy Father, you have shown us your mercy and made us a new creation in the likeness of your Son. Make us living signs of your love for the whole world to see.


Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever.


Celebrating Reconciliation, edited by the National Liturgy Office, and published by Publications Service, Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, 2500 Don Reid Drive, Ottawa, Ontario, K1H 2J2, Canada. Copyright © Concacan Inc., 2006. All rights reserved. This text may be reproduced for personal or parish use. For commercial licence, please contact the publisher.