A Guide for Confession: Tips For A Better Confession

Confession, also known as the Sacrament of Penance or Reconciliation, is an important tradition in our Catholic Faith. After baptism, it is required that we claim forgiveness for wrongdoing by confessing our sins at church.


Through the powerful act of confessing our sins, we are reconciling ourselves with God and reconnecting with our church family. Confession heals our soul and lets us reclaim God’s grace.

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​God is the only one with the power to forgive sins but the church serves as his instrument of forgiveness here on earth. We are truly blessed as Catholics to be able to return to the Sacrament of Penance freely.

A Guide For Confession

Confession is a simple act in three parts.

  1. The sinner feels sorrow for his wrongdoing
  2. He makes a disclosure about it
  3. He finds relief in taking some action for penance.

The effect of a confession in our lives as Catholics is very profound. With awareness and preparation, we can work towards a more meaningful confession for ourselves. Here are some tips that might help

Take time to reflect

​Confession is not just about enumerating any wrongdoings committed, it’s about having a change of heart and reclaiming God’s grace. Set aside enough time to deeply examine your struggles and why you need the Lord’s forgiveness.

Find a priest that you are comfortable with

​This being a deeply personal ritual, it is important that you are comfortable during confession. It’s ok to look for a confessor outside your own parish if you think it will help. Some Catholics go to neighboring parishes if they feel that they need more anonymity when confessing.

Consider setting an appointment with your confessor

​Meet with your confessor if you feel that you need more time. This is useful especially if it has been some time since your last confession or if you find it necessary to have a longer, more in depth conversation with your priest.

Be honest

​Don’t be afraid to tell your confessor everything you need to confess. Let him know if it’s your first time to confess or if you’ve forgotten how the ritual goes so he can guide you through the process.

Confess regularly

​Regular confessions can help you and your confessor evaluate your life and any sinful patterns that you need to address. You can also better appreciate the meaning and impact of this ritual if you make it a regular part of your life as a catholic.

Be truly repentant of your sins

​We shouldn’t play lip service when confessing our sins. By feeling truly sorry about the sin committed, we find ways to resolve personal conflict. Feel free to ask your confessor for advice on how to overcome any sinful patterns in your life.

Make it personal

​Don’t just regard confession as a ritual you must do during mass or the Lent Season. Think of it as a sacred and intimate act that takes place between you and God so it must have personal meaning in your life. Make confession an important part of your spiritual growth leading towards becoming better and more virtuous Catholics.

​What Happens During Confession

Confessing to a Priest
  • Confession may happen face to face between you and a priest or inside a confessional booth so there is more privacy. Because confession is a sensitive and deeply personal act, it is important for you to go with the option that is most comfortable for you. 
  • Listen to the priest as he gives you a blessing or imparts a short verse from the Bible.
  • Make the Sign of the Cross and recite, "Bless me father, for I have sinned."
  • Share when you last confessed your sins by saying, "My last confession was {indicate the number of days/weeks/months/years] ago"
  • ​Confess your sins to the priest. If you feel unsure or uneasy, be honest enough to ask your confessor to help guide you through the ritual. 
  • Conclude your confession with a prayer of sorrow or Act of Contrition. Be completely sincere and repentant.
  • Listen to the priest as he gives words of absolution.
  • Express gratitude to God for forgiving you. ​

Act of Contrition:

​O my 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 I have offended 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, to do penance and to amend my life. Amen.

Confession is more than just an enduring tradition in our Catholic Faith, it is a personal and transformative experience. It involves deep penance and resolve to become a better of follower of God.

How often do you go to confession?

How has it improved your life as a Catholic?