Confession. Penance. Sacrament of Reconciliation?

Why Me??



Saturday, 3pm until last penitent

And by appointment:


Phone: 619-582-3716 


Does the Sacrament of Confession make you nervous? Maybe. Otherwise, you'd go more often, right? You aren't sure if you have sinned 'badly enough' to seek it out. You don't know how to prepare for it. And it may have been so long (maybe years) since your last Confession that you're ashamed to admit it to the priest. This page will help you with all of those questions and maybe encourage you to seek out this penitential rite soon.

You Don't 'Go' to This Sacrament, You Celebrate It!

The Sacrament of Reconciliation is one of the Catholic Church's two Sacraments of Healing. The other is Anointing of the Sick.

Sin is a sickness that makes us lonely. It separates us from God and from those closest to us. Thinking of this Sacrament as a way to heal and reconnect is one way to make yourself less nervous about it. Take joy in the gift of your Reconciliation with God, His (and your) community and those you have wronged. 

There's no doubt that confessing to sin is HARD. We are all very conscious of how others see us.  Admitting to someone else that we've been hurtful to others and have turned our backs on God is uncomfortably embarrassing to us. But once done, the stress of hiding our sin and guilt is gone. We find renewed comfort and joy in our belonging to the Body of Christ.

But there's still one worry that many of us have.


What if the whole world found out what we've done?

In the worst case, can a Confession to a priest be used in court? NO. Priests can never comment on, never acknowledge, that ANY confession ever took place! A priest is forever bound (as our Canons and Sacrament require) never to confirm, discuss, reveal, not just the content of a confession but also the WHO!!!!  (Fr. Peter Bosque)

How to Celebrate the Rite of Penance

If it's been a long time since your last Confession, the forms may have changed a bit.  Or you just don't remember what to do. Download this PDF for the theological reasons behind what happens in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Find out how it supports both you and the Church's mission of reuniting people with their Creator. 


Feel free to print it out and bring it with you when you go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation. 




The penitent should prepare for the celebration of the Sacrament by prayer, reading of Scripture, and silent reflection.


The penitent should think over and should regret, all sins since the last celebration of the Sacrament. If it's been a while since your last Confession just Google “examination of conscience” and you’ll find resources to help you.

The penitent enters the confessional or other place set aside for the celebration of the Sacrament of Penance. After welcoming of the priest, the penitent makes the sign of the cross, saying: 


"In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen!"

The penitent is invited to have trust in God (in words of comfort from the priest) and replies....


The penitent than listens to a text of Scripture which tells about God’s Mercy and calls men to conversion.

The penitent speaks to the priest in a normal, conversational fashion. The penitent tells when he or she last celebrated the Sacrament and then confesses his or her sons. The penitent then listens to any advice the priest may give and accepts the satisfaction from the priest (the “penance”). The penitent should ask any appropriate questions.

Before the absolution is given, the penitent expresses sorrow for sins in these or similar words:


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.


(Psalm 25: 6-7)

Remember, lord, your great mercy and love,
    for they are from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth
    and my rebellious ways;
(but) remember me according to your love,
    for you, lord, are good.


(Psalm 41: 4)

Have mercy on me, lord;
    heal me, for I have sinned against you.


OR personal words of the penitent!


If the penitent is not kneeling, he or she bows his or her head as the priest extends his hands (or at least his right hand): 


The priest says,

God, the Father of mercies,
through the death and resurrection of His Son
has reconciled the world to himself
and sent the Holy Spirit among us
for the forgiveness of sins;
through the ministry of the Church
may God give you pardon and peace,
and I absolve you from your sins
in the name of the Father, and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit.

(And the penitent replies:) Amen!


Priest: Give thanks to the Lord, for He is Good! (Or similar words....)

Penitent: His Mercy endures forever! (Or similar words....)

Then the penitent is dismissed by the priest.

Concordat Cum Originali
+ James P. Mahoney, D.D.
Vicar General, Archdiocese of New York
Rite of Penance Copyright © 1975
Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Take the Next Step...

First, click on the videos just below this paragraph. They contain the answers to the most frequently asked questions about Confession.

Sacrament of Confession 101 - What is it?

Now that you have had a few of your questions about the Sacrament of Penance answered, come and be Reconciled: 


Saturday, 3pm until last penitent

And by appointment:


Phone: 619-582-3716 


If you have more questions, call us at 619-582-3716 or come into the parish office to discuss this Sacrament.