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  #1  
Old Feb 25, '12, 11:22 pm
Randy1221 Randy1221 is offline
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Default Haven't been to Confession in a long time! Help!

I've started to become really close with my faith and the church attending masses more regularly. I pray for forgiveness and thank God for my blessing each night. My question is I haven't seen a priest for confession in probly 7-8 years. I kind of would like a refresher on how confession goes?
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  #2  
Old Feb 25, '12, 11:49 pm
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Gordon Sims Gordon Sims is offline
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Default Re: Haven't been to Confession in a long time! Help!

First you need to do a thorough examination of your conscience. There are multiple websites that can give you a good guide to this, but basically you reflect on the Ten Commandments and the Seven Deadly Sins and try to determine which mortal sins you've committed and how many times you've committed them. I'll occasionally write down my sins, sort of a Reconciliation cheat sheet, although I generally leave this in the car and don't bring it in with me.

Next, you actually go to Confession. You should decide in advance if you're going to do private or face-to-face. I was mortified with the idea of face-to-face Confession until I started doing it. Now I couldn't imaging doing it anonymously, but to each his own.

Once you enter the confessional, you'll both make the sign of the cross and then you can start by saying something along the lines of, "Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. My last Confession was ___ days/weeks/months/years ago." You can expand on this if you feel it's appropriate.

The priest may then say a prayer or read a passage from scripture. Then again, he may not. The last time I went was very informal and actually skipped a lot of the above.

He may then ask you to go on with your Confession, or he may just stare at you expecting you to know what to do next. Either way, this is where you start confessing your sins. You're obligated to confess your mortal sins, although you can also bring up venial sins, especially if it's something you really struggle with. You're supposed to be able to give the number of times you committed each sin, but that may be difficult especially since you haven't been in a while. The times I've gone after having not been in a very long time, the priest was okay with a ballpark figure. Again, though, you're mileage may vary.

Following this, the priest may offer some advice/encouragement or ask some questions, and then he'll give you your penance. In my experience, penances now aren't what they were when I was a kid, and it's usually nothing earth-shattering. Yet again, your mileage may vary. Then he'll likely ask you to say an Act of Contrition. I never can remember the Act of Contrition, so I bring a little prayer book with me. If I forget it in the car, I pray they have a copy on hand. Other times, though, I've had the priest do it with me, question and answer style, which is always a relief due to my mental block on this prayer.

The priest will then absolve you (followed by the sign of the cross), possibly read again from scripture, say a prayer and tell you to go in peace. You'll then walk out, do your penance and hop in the car, remarking about how much easier that was than you thought it would be, and wondering why you put it off for so long.
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  #3  
Old Feb 26, '12, 6:20 am
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jreilly jreilly is offline
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Default Re: Haven't been to Confession in a long time! Help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy1221 View Post
I've started to become really close with my faith and the church attending masses more regularly. I pray for forgiveness and thank God for my blessing each night. My question is I haven't seen a priest for confession in probly 7-8 years. I kind of would like a refresher on how confession goes?
Randy1221, I too went a LONG time between confessions (about 20 years or so), and when I finally began making this a regular practice again I considered not being totally upfront with how long it had been; with continued prayer I realized that there was no point in going to receive reconciliation if I wasn't going to be completly honest. The priest was most welcoming to me on my return to receive the sacrament. Wow I was glad too!

Though I know the Act of Contrition forward/backward this last time I went, I think my mind went blank. The priest was most helpful - I on the other hand was mortified that I couldn't remember it.

Blessings to you on your return.
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Old Feb 26, '12, 6:37 am
Richard320 Richard320 is offline
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Default Re: Haven't been to Confession in a long time! Help!

I went over twenty years between Masses once, and slightly longer than that for Confession.

Make an appointment. It might take a while, and you don't want to hog the scheduled time. Plus you'll get strange looks from the people waiting if you take a long, long time.

Call a parish, tell the secretary or whoever answers that you need to make an appointment and it's been several years. If there's only one priest, that will be that, but if there's several, she'll line you up with the best confessor. Picking up that phone will be harder than the actual confession.
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Old Feb 26, '12, 8:35 am
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lutherlic lutherlic is offline
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Default Re: Haven't been to Confession in a long time! Help!

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Originally Posted by Richard320 View Post
I went over twenty years between Masses once, and slightly longer than that for Confession.

Make an appointment. It might take a while, and you don't want to hog the scheduled time. Plus you'll get strange looks from the people waiting if you take a long, long time.

Call a parish, tell the secretary or whoever answers that you need to make an appointment and it's been several years. If there's only one priest, that will be that, but if there's several, she'll line you up with the best confessor. Picking up that phone will be harder than the actual confession.
Good advice. Also, your situation is not unique. Your confession and return to the sacraments will make your priest's day!

BTW: as a convert, my first confession covered 50+ years. Lot's of (as it turns out, unnecessary) apprehension.
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  #6  
Old Feb 26, '12, 8:56 am
hazcompat hazcompat is offline
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Default Re: Haven't been to Confession in a long time! Help!

try this

http://www.ewtn.com/library/BISHOPS/GUIDEPEN.HTM

peace
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  #7  
Old Feb 26, '12, 8:58 am
Bookcat Bookcat is offline
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Default Re: Haven't been to Confession in a long time! Help!

Since you have been away for a long time...perhaps "focus" more on any mortal sins you have done in life for this first confession (venial sins need not be directly confessed..though it is recommended we do so regularly...one can intend the other venial sins in "and all the sins of my life" at the end).

We are obliged to confess all mortal sins in number and kind (adultery 2x, murder 4x, missing Mass all Sundays and Holy Days except Christmas for the last 5 years, perjury in court 2x, receiving Communion while in state of Mortal sin 2x, etc etc) and if something changed the mortal sin..like it was your brother you murdered. Of course after a good examination we may not ..after so many years...remember everything..that is ok...we do what we can..God forgives the forgotten ones too (we need of course to be sorry for all our mortal sins...and amended)...then if we later remember one we forgot..we are to confess it in the next confession after we remember it. (this is different from if we intentionally hide a mortal sin..that is a sacrilege and one is not forgiven but has another sin)

Also we may not know the numbers ...we do what we can..and if we do not know..we make an approximation...3-5x, 5-10 a month for the last 20 years, somewhere around 50 times, around 10x, or even if needed "many times", "many many times" etc

(I should note that if one is "remarried" or "married" to a divorced person..or in an invalid marriage etc or "living together"..one needs to take care of that first...or speak to the Priest ...not that these apply to you...but for readers)

Of course one needs contrition and a firm purpose of amendment. (remember though feelings need not occur...)

Here from the Catechism:

http://www.scborromeo.org/ccc/p2s2c2a4.htm#VII

Here is a guide sold by Catholic Answers: http://shop.catholic.com/product.php...&cat=25&page=1

Remember Jesus loves you and wants to forgive you and to give you life. So that you may return to Holy Communion and receive him there (one needs to wait until confession..and if one does not know about the Eucharist ..or forget...speak with the Priest etc for one will need to know more too first)

And do not be afraid...perhaps make an appointment to see the Priest outside normal confession time...and ask him to help you

Here is an overview of the Faith http://www.vatican.va/archive/compen...um-ccc_en.html

(you can get it as a book...also get the Catechism at some point it is a treasure chest!)

Jesus is the Good Shepherd ..he loves you and desires to give you true life.

And do not forget the effects of the Sacrament (Catechism) :

IX. THE EFFECTS OF THIS SACRAMENT

1468 "The whole power of the sacrament of Penance consists in restoring us to God's grace and joining us with him in an intimate friendship."73 Reconciliation with God is thus the purpose and effect of this sacrament. For those who receive the sacrament of Penance with contrite heart and religious disposition, reconciliation "is usually followed by peace and serenity of conscience with strong spiritual consolation."74 Indeed the sacrament of Reconciliation with God brings about a true "spiritual resurrection," restoration of the dignity and blessings of the life of the children of God, of which the most precious is friendship with God.75

1469 This sacrament reconciles us with the Church. Sin damages or even breaks fraternal communion. The sacrament of Penance repairs or restores it. In this sense it does not simply heal the one restored to ecclesial communion, but has also a revitalizing effect on the life of the Church which suffered from the sin of one of her members.76 Re-established or strengthened in the communion of saints, the sinner is made stronger by the exchange of spiritual goods among all the living members of the Body of Christ, whether still on pilgrimage or already in the heavenly homeland:77


It must be recalled that . . . this reconciliation with God leads, as it were, to other reconciliations, which repair the other breaches caused by sin. The forgiven penitent is reconciled with himself in his inmost being, where he regains his innermost truth. He is reconciled with his brethren whom he has in some way offended and wounded. He is reconciled with the Church. He is reconciled with all creation.78
1470 In this sacrament, the sinner, placing himself before the merciful judgment of God, anticipates in a certain way the judgment to which he will be subjected at the end of his earthly life. For it is now, in this life, that we are offered the choice between life and death, and it is only by the road of conversion that we can enter the Kingdom, from which one is excluded by grave sin.79 In converting to Christ through penance and faith, the sinner passes from death to life and "does not come into judgment."80
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  #8  
Old Feb 26, '12, 9:08 am
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Monica4316 Monica4316 is offline
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Default Re: Haven't been to Confession in a long time! Help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Randy1221 View Post
I've started to become really close with my faith and the church attending masses more regularly. I pray for forgiveness and thank God for my blessing each night. My question is I haven't seen a priest for confession in probly 7-8 years. I kind of would like a refresher on how confession goes?
Don't forget to not receive the Eucharist until you have gone to confession, cause Communion with mortal sin is a mortal sin.. just pray in your pew but definitely do go to Mass!! That's wonderful that you've been getting closer to your faith.

As for Confession, I would definitely encourage you to go, it's kind of scary at first (I remember my first Confession when I came to the Church..) but it'll be wonderful afterwards and you'll be so much closer to God, with His sanctifying grace in your soul when we're in mortal sin, we can receive actual graces (ways that God helps us come to Him), but it's soo much better after Confession!! Jesus told the Apostles, whatever sins they forgive will be forgiven, and this authority was then given to their successors, the Bishops, and the priests. As for how you do it, just go to the confessional (you can choose anonymous or not, I personally prefer anonymous but I've gone to other ones too) - and usually the priest will say something as an introduction, and you say "bless me Father for I have sinned, it's been ... since my last Confession". Then, you say the mortal sins that you can remember (if you sincerely forget, they're still forgiven, but if you remember them during confession, say them, - and if you remember them afterwards, just mention them in your next Confession) - and don't leave anything out or that would make your confession invalid (would show lack of repentance). Intend to not do any of the sins ever again - that is what repentance is have contrition (regret) them. You can add clarifying details if you want, and say how many times you did the sin (if you don't remember, estimate: "a few times" "many times" etc). Then, the priest will give you a penance to do, which is usually a prayer but could involve actions too (like doing something nice for someone). It's usually Our Father and Hail Mary or a number of them. Then, he'll give you absolution, and you're done then you do your penance as soon as you are able - make sure to do it though, that's important.

Many people use an examination of conscience to help them put together the list of sins to confess... and you can write them down if you want, and bring the list to Confession and read from it.

Here are some examinations of conscience.. if there's a sin that's not really mentioned because it's very specific, but you know it's a sin, add it too.
http://www.scborromeo.org/confess.htm
http://www.beginningcatholic.com/cat...onscience.html

and here's some information about what a mortal sin is and how to tell the difference between mortal and venial sins. We can't receive Communion with mortal sins on our souls, but we can receive with venial sin, if you're sure it's venial.. this is something to keep in mind for after your Confession. It's good to avoid ANY chosen (willed) sin altogether, whether grave matter or not.

http://www.saintaquinas.com/mortal_sin.html

Hope that helps! and if you get nervous, remember that the priest has heard it all and won't judge you, he's only there to give you God's forgiveness and your spiritual life will be much greater afterwards and you'll be closer to God! I was very nervous for my first Confession a few years ago but this Sacrament is very good and helpful.

God bless!
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Old Feb 26, '12, 9:10 am
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Monica4316 Monica4316 is offline
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Default Re: Haven't been to Confession in a long time! Help!

By the way, you can confess venial sins too, and the Church even encourages this, to help us fight sin

and here are some things that Jesus told a Saint (St Faustina) through a private revelation (accepted by the Church), about Confession I found this very helpful! http://www.catholic-forum.com/church...confession.htm and remember any sin can be forgiven if you're sorry for it and repent of it!

God bless!
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Old Feb 26, '12, 10:15 pm
Randy1221 Randy1221 is offline
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Default Re: Haven't been to Confession in a long time! Help!

Thank you all so much for taking the time to reply! It means a lot! And the links and step by step refreshers are much needed thanks again!
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Old Feb 27, '12, 4:38 am
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Default Re: Haven't been to Confession in a long time! Help!

Best wishes for a good confession to you.

I went to confession after about a 2-3 year lay-off. Although it was somewhat embarrassing for me the priest was very helpful and kinda coached me through it. He was very thorough, which for me was embarrassing, but again the embarrassment was only on my part, because he was very kind.

He also coached me through the act of contrition and has for the last couple times I've seen him. I have to memorize or bring one on a card though because I don't want him to have to do that every single time.

It has been great. Spiritually and emotionally, confession is so freeing. I've been able to fight sins that have been tormenting me for several years. It has also helped me strengthen both my faith and my reverence in the Eucharist, which can't be bad at all!

God bless,
Bryan
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Old Mar 2, '12, 4:43 am
eggrrsr eggrrsr is offline
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Default Re: Haven't been to Confession in a long time! Help!

Randy,
Glad to hear you are thinking and looking forward to going to confession. I can tell you it had been over 35 years since I last attended confession. With that said this past Wednesday I attended confession and have fealt wonderful ever since. Now during this period I had not committed any major or moral sins but have had numerous committed against me. It was great to her the father and really made me feel better about forgivness and moving forward. Hope you received the information you are looking for,


All the Best
Rich
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Old Mar 2, '12, 10:19 am
Kennywood Kennywood is offline
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Default Re: Haven't been to Confession in a long time! Help!

Richard was right on the money with his advice.

The only thing I would emphasize is : your worrying will be worse than the actual reconciliation experience.

When you begin by telling the priest that it has been a while, he will guide you through it.

Kindly.

Enjoy that grace filled moment!
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