Be truly sorry for your sins. The essential act of Penance on the part of the penitent is contrition, a rejection of the sin committed, together with a firm amendment not to commit it again. God’s grace will give you the strength you need to resist and overcome temptation in the future. Refer to the guide below as you prepare for your confession and reflect on the state of your relationship with God and your neighbor. Pamphlets with helpful guidelines on how to make a thorough examination of conscience are available in the Church vestibule.
Begin by making the sign of the cross and greeting the priest: “Bless me Father, for I have sinned.”
You may continue with the time since your last confession: “My last good confession was”… (how many weeks, months, or years approximately).
Say the sins that you remember. Start with the one that is most difficult to say; after this it will be easier to mention the rest.
Conclude with: “I am sorry for these and all the sins of my past life.”
The priest will assign you some penance and give you some advice to help you be a better Christian. Listen to the words of absolution.
At the end answer: “Amen.”
This penance will diminish the temporal punishment due to sins already forgiven.
Act of Contrition:
Oh 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. Amen.
Give thanks to God for forgiving you. If you recall some serious sin you forgot to tell, rest assured that it has been forgiven with the others, but be sure to confess it in your next Confession. Perform your penance before you leave Church.