How to Say the Catholic Confessional to a Priest

Confession is about contrition. According to Catholic teaching, it is a chance to unburden yourself and make peace with God. This does not mean that you promise never to sin again but that you made a conscious decision to go forward and attempt to live your life more in line with God's teachings. Confession is one of the main sacraments of Catholicism, and it follows a procedure.

Prepare yourself for confession to a priest. Find a quiet place, and contemplate your sins, what you want to say about them and in what order you will confess them.

Enter the confessional. It may be composed of two sections separated by a screen and include an attached kneeler, or it may be arranged so that you sit facing the priest. If the second arrangement makes you nervous, you may ask the priest to turn away.

Make the sign of the cross and state, "In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."

Tell the priest how long it has been since your last confession. State how many, days, weeks, months and years it has been since your last confession. If you don't know how long it has been, state that information. The priest may speak or read a passage from Scripture.

Confess your sins in whatever order you feel most comfortable. Afterward, the priest may offer you advice and guidance before he gives you a penance to perform.

Say an Act of Contrition. Because this prayer has many versions, do a little research to find one that you like. You may take a prayer book with you so you don't forget the words. An Act of Contrition may be posted on the confessional wall.

The priest will make the sign of the cross and give you absolution. If he states, "Go in peace," respond with, "Thanks be to God."


You may ask the priest for assistance during confession, and he will guide you through the procedure.

Things You'll Need

  • Prayer book (optional)
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About the Author

Cassandra Connolly-Brown has been a writer and editor since 2007. She worked as an editor at "The Herald-Sun" newspaper in North Carolina and provided content for a pet-sitting website and several volunteer projects. Connolly-Brown graduated summa cum laude from North Carolina State University, earning a B.A. in English with specializations in language, writing and rhetoric.