Encounter God's love and mercy- a guide to confession

Communications • Fri, Mar 17 2017 at 2:40pm
Pope francis hearing confession cropped 1000

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All #NOLACatholic Churches are open Wednesday from 5 pm to 6:30 pm for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. If it has been awhile since you have been or even if the sacrament is routine, take some time to review "How to Go to Confession" with this handy guide.

Prepare - Before going to confession, you should prayerfully compare your life to the Ten Commandments, the Beatitudes and the example of Christ. Using an Examination of Conscience can be helpful.

Go to Confession - After the priest welcomes you, both of you make the Sign of the Cross. Then you may want to talk about yourself, your situation and the difficulties you face living a Christian life. Tell the priest the last time you went to confession.

The Word of God (optional) - You or the priest may read one of the suggested scriptural passages.

Confession of Sins and Act of Penance - Confess your sins. The priest the offers suitable advice and gives you an act of penance, which may include prayer, self-denial or works of mercy.

Prayer of the Penitent - Pray a prayer, such as the Act of Contrition, expressing sorrow for your sins and a desire not to sin again.

Absolution - The priest extends his hads over your head and pronounces a formula of absolution, making the Sign of the Cross over your head during the final words. You respond, "Amen".

Dismissal - The priest sends you forth to go in peace. Continue to express your conversion thruogh a life renewed according to the Gospel and the love of God.


As you prepare to go to confession, consider using this Examination of Conscience to guide your experience!

  • To what extent have I spent time in prayer and have I included God in my daily life?
  • Have I treated people, events, or things as more important that God?
  • Am I actively living my Catholic faith and, if I have them, raising my children in the faith?
  • Have I been ashamed to speak about my faith?
  • Have my words, actively or passively, put down God, the Church, or people?
  • Do I go to Mass every Sunday (or Saturday Vigil) and on Holy Days of Obligation?
  • Do I look for ways to spend time with family or in service on Sunday?
  • Do I use my gifts and talents to serve God?
  • Do I care for those around me or do I use them to get what I want?
  • Do I show respect to both those in positions of legitimate authority and those who are under my authority (including my children if I have them)?
  • Have I taken or wasted time or resources that belonged to another?
  • Am I lazy?
  • Have I harmed others through physical, verbal, or emotional means?
  • Do I look down on those who are different from me?
  • Have I gossiped, told lies, or embellished stories at the expense of another?
  • Have I respected the physical and sexual dignity of others and of myself?
  • Have I honored my spouse (if married) with my full affection and exclusive love?
  • Am I content with my own means and needs, or do I compare myself to others unnecessarily?
  • Do I seek to fill what is lacking in my life with material possessions?
  • Am I moving toward addiction to drugs, alcohol, gambling or pornography?
  • Am I sincerely sorry for the things I have done wrong?