When you enter the confessional, the priest usually offer a greeting and some words of encouragement. Please wait for the priest to open the divider in the wall before you begin.
Step 1: Make the Sign of the Cross.
Step 2: Tell Father how long it has been since your last Confession.
Step 3: Confess your sins.
When you have finished confessing your sins, it is helpful to the priest to conclude with a statement like “I am sorry for these and all my sins” or “For these and all my sins I ask forgiveness.” This lets the priest know you are finished, and not just pausing for a moment or trying to catch your thoughts.
Step 4: the priest may offer some words of consolation, encouragement or direction and will then give you a penance. He will then ask you to recite the Act of Contrition. One form of the Act of Contrition is:
“O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended You. I detest all my sins because of Your just punishments, 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 sin no more and avoid the near occasion of sin. Amen.”
Step 5: The priest prays the words of absolution.
God, the Father of mercies, through the death and the resurrection of his Son, has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins; through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
Step 6: The proclamation of praise and dismissal. The priest will say, “Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good,” to which you respond “His mercy endures forever.” The priest will then dismiss you, saying “the Lord has freed you from your sins; go in peace.”
You are free now to leave the confessional and do your penance. Please remember also to pray for our Holy Father, our Archbishop, and your priests, e.g. by praying:
Be merciful to them O Lord, watch over them with Your care. Help them to be faithful to the Creed, to be fervent in prayer, always longing for the Eucharist, seeking out souls and willing to give their whole life in obedient service to Christ, the Church.
We ask this with the help of Mary, Mother of Divine Providence. Amen.