This question was posed to Fr. Sherpa recently
Recently, when I went to the confessional I remembered the priest giving me absolution but for some reason when I got out I totally forgot the penance. In fact, I didn’t remember if the priest gave me penance …maybe he forgot??! (I admit I have been having some senior moments lately). Not knowing what to do and too embarressed to go back into the confessional I said 3 Hail Marys and 3 Our Fathers. Was this the right thing to do?

Fr. Vincent replied:

Yes that is perfectly fine (or words to that effect)
The same thing happened to me today I think it was just one Our Father but I can’t be certain if there were any others. I did the same. So I followed this advice. Just prayed several of the usuals

Just two questions 1) i don’t need to say to the next priest in confession that I forgot my last penance right? I probably won’t see that priest again 2) if you did say you forgot your penance would you be required to confess again?

  1. if you did say you forgot your penance would you be required to confess again?

No, having a failing memory is not a sin. The validity of absolution does not depend on doing the penance.


I always take a list of what I’m going to say b/c going in or coming out, I used to always forget something! Now I just jot down my penance with a little pencil and then when all’s done, destroy the paper.

By the way, his name is Father Serpa; the Dominicans used to be our priests at the Newman Center.

take care!
amsjj :slight_smile:
Jesus, God and man,
imprisoned by love in Thy most holy Sacrament,
have mercy upon us.

  • Blessed John Henry Newman, December 22, 1851

Tú y yo sabemos por la fe que oculto en las especies sacramentales está Cristo,
ese Cristo con su Cuerpo, con su Sangre, con su Alma, y con su Divinidad,
prisonero de amor.

  • San Josemaría Escrivá, 1 junio 1974

God loves to be resisted in His displeasure, and to be restrained by the humble from inflicting punishment… One saint will often save a nation; so true is it that humble souls are the hinges on which God moves the world.

  • Abp. W. B. Ullathorne, The Groundwork of the Christian Virtues, 1882.


I forgot what my penance from last week was, too! I said the Chaplet of Mercy instead.

My confessors tend to get creative with me so it’s sometimes hard to remember unless I write it down. This week was the Third Luminous Mystery of of the Rosary and pray for a particular intention - which I’ve already forgotten :eek:


My last confession was slightly more unusual. the priest was really hard on me for the things that I confessed. I got a mini-homily for each thing. I guess I spoke slowly, so he rushed me out of the confessional – two minutes of adoration of the Eucharist in the tabernacle then say the act of contrition out there.

There were about 15 people lined up for confession, and I think he was hurrying me along, a bit.

You know how your teeth can hurt after a vigorous hygiene session at the dentist? Well, it was like that but worse, lasting for about a week.

I always want to go to confession to a priest who does not know me. I like total anonymity, if there is such a thing in the confessional.

I’m reading a commentary on the book of Ezekiel. In this one section,there is a quote from St. John Chrysostom that seems to apply to repentance and confession:

For it is God’s part to give a contrite and humbled heart, sober, self-possessed and awe struck, full of repentance and compunction [anxiety arising from guilt].


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