Begin with a thorough examination of conscience by consulting the Catechism, the Precepts of the Church and other such sources. Then when you are ready, approach the priest for Sacramental Confession.

The penitent kneels in the confessional or, if there is no confessional, the usual manner is for the penitent to kneel in a church pew or some other suitable location, with the priest sitting in the pew behind or sitting beside him.

The penitent begins by saying:

BLESS me Father, for I have sinned.

Then the priest says:

THE Lord be in thy heart and upon thy lips, so that thou mayest worthily confess all thy sins, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.

The penitent then makes his confession, preferably making first a general confession, such as:

I CONFESS to Almighty God, to the Blessed Mary Ever Virgin, to all the Saints, and to thee, Father, that I have sinned exceedingly in thought, word, and deed; by what I have done, and by what I have left undone; and through my own fault.

The penitent then continues by telling how long it has been since his last confession, his state in life, and any particular sins he wishes to confess. After this, he brings his confession to a close with these words, or something similar:

FOR these and all my other sins which I cannot now remember, I am heartily sorry and intend to do better. I humbly ask pardon of God, and of thee, Father, I ask for penance, advice, and absolution. Amen.

The priest may then give a few words of advice and impose a penance. The penance must be such that the Seal of Confession is not violated.

ABSOLUTION

ALMIGHTY God have mercy upon thee, forgive thee thy sins, and bring thee to everlasting life. Amen.

Then, extending his right hand over the penitent, he continues:

THE Almighty and merciful Lord grant thee pardon, + absolution, and remission of all thy sins. Amen.

OUR Lord Jesus Christ, who hath left power to his Church to absolve all sinners who truly repent and believe in him, of his great mercy, forgive thee thine offenses; And by his authority committed unto me, I absolve thee of all thy sins, in the name of the Father, and of the + Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

MAY the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the merits of his most holy mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and of all the Saints, may whatsoever good thou hast done or evil thou has endured be unto thee for the forgiveness of sins, the increase of grace, and the reward of eternal life; And the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the + Son, and the Holy Ghost be upon thee and remain with thee always. Amen.

In case of reasonable and legitimate need, the only prayer that need be said is the "Our Lord Jesus..." prayer above.

In the case of many penitents, they may say the General Confession before entering the confessional, beginning with "Bless me Father..." and then continuing from the statement of how long it has been since their last confession.

 

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