"Rend your hearts, not your garments, and return to the LORD, your God. For gracious and merciful is he, slow to anger, rich in kindness, and relenting in punishment."
    Joel 2:13

    What Is Necessary for a valid confession?

    The Penitent must confess sins, be sorrowful for these sins and make a firm intention to avoid sin and occasions of temptation.

    What Happens Inside the Confessional?

    • Confession starts with a greeting or blessing from the priest.
    • Begin by making the Sign of the Cross and say, "Bless me father, for I have sinned. It has been (days, weeks, months, years) since my last Confession."
    • Now is the time to confess all of your sins to the priest. If you are uncomfortable or unsure, ask the priest to assist you.
    • After you have confessed, say "For these, and all of my sins, I am sorry."
    • The priest will then offer you some advice or guidance and give you your penance.
    • Finally, you will say an Act of Contrition (see below) to express sorrow for your sins and to commit yourself to practicing virtue. The priest, acting in the person of Christ, will absolve you of your sins.

    Act of Contrition:

    There are several versions of the Act of Contrition. Here are two:

    • God, I am heartily sorry for having offended you, and I detest all my sins because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell; but most of all because they offend you, my God, who are all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve with the help of your grace to confess my sins, do penance, and to amend my life. Amen.
    • 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.