[1 Jn. 1:9-10]
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just, and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar."
Need for Confession
It probably doesn't take much for us to realize that we all have sinned. We're not perfect, yet; but along the away towards perfection and sainthood, we need some help getting back up on the straight and narrow.
While a confession of mortal sins is only required once a year (CIC 989), we are in need of confession every time we commit a mortal sin; it is available to us weekly.
This is a beautiful sacrament in which the penitent returns to the Lord with whole heart, not just the nice parts but also the place where the muck of sin resides.
As an important note, this is neither spiritual direction nor counseling. Often there is no need to give a lot of details surrounding the sin. You don't have to explain. if the priest needs to know more, he'll ask.
Every Saturday 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm Church
While this is the regular scheduled weekly time, it is not the only times for confession. If it is more pressing or if you are truly unable to make the regular time, please contact a priest.
Additionally, both in Advent and Lent we host a Penance Rite, bringing in more than a dozen priests to hear your confession; join us.
"Confession is an act of honesty and courage - an act of entrusting ourselves, beyond sin, to the mercy of a loving and forgiving God."
St. John Paul II
"If you excuse yourself in confession, you shut up sin within your soul, and shut out pardon." "The confession of evil works is the first beginning of good works."
Making a Good Confession
Most of the work of your confession can and should be done before arriving. Take some time to prayerfully go through an examination of conscience. There are many available; we've provided some promoted by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Remember, these are just guides to assist you in preparation.
As you prepare, keep in mind that you must confess your mortal sins and approximately the number of times they were committed since your last confession. Remember, the only sin that God does not forgive is the one we do not give over to Him. Sins always make us uncomfortable, but worse is for them to remain chained to our hearts.
"Mortal sin destroys charity in the heart of man by a grave violation of God's law; it turns man away from God, who is his ultimate end and his beatitude, by preferring an inferior good to him" (CCC 1855).
Mortal sins involve grave matter: Gal 5:18-21, 1 Cor 6:9-10, Ten Commandments, Seven Deadly Sin, etc. They must have been committed with full consent and knowledge.
"Venial sin allows charity to subsist, even though it offends and wounds it" (CCC 1855).
Venial sins are like a disease, which untreated weakens the soul to accept temptations for mortal sin, thus separating the individual from salvific grace. Venial sins must be rooted out of one's heart, as also sin places distance between us and God.
Know that as you approach this Sacrament: the priest is no judge but a dispensor of God's mercy. Fear nothing except refusing to confess a sin. It was for this very moment that Jesus died upon the cross; it was to set you free from all of your sins and to enjoy the freedom of the sons and daughters of God the Most High.
Choose either confessing behind the screen or face to face, whichever helps you to make a fuller and more complete confession.
Start by saying: "Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been approximately (days, weeks, months, years) since my last confession.
Give your status in life: single, married, with/without kids, etc.
Confess your all of your mortal sins and approximately the number of times, only since your last confession unless previously unconfessed. Remember the priest rarely needs all of the background; keep it simple.
Listen attentively to any spiritual advice might be given; paying close attention to the penance to be offered, remembering that penance is never a payment for sin but a response to the love God first showed to us.
If you do not need to request a different penance, start the Act of Contrition. If you need help, there are often aids; never hesitate to ask the priest for assistance throughout the process.
Complete your penance as soon as possible. Offer a small prayer of thanksgiving for God's great mercy and forgiveness. Don't forget to ask to benefit from every grace that comes from this Sacrament. Seek to root out sin from your life by making a concrete resolution through planning a strategy. Rejoice in the Lord.