fear of confession

I am a catholic convert and I only go to the reconciliation masses annually for confession. I want to go to confession but I am so afraid I won’t do it right. I don’t even know where the confessional is located in my church and I feel silly to ask. I do attend Mass every week and I am even a Lector. I’ve looked around when I go to Mass and don’t see where the confessional might be. What might it look like. Our church decor if somewhat modern.
Our priest is a good man but difficult to talk to and makes me feel somewhat stupid when I ask questions. I do not have any friends I can talk with about this.

Don’t be afraid…it is very simple. Look in your bulletin for the times that confession is offered at your church. Or if you feel uncomfortable with your own pastor…look into confession times at another Catholic Church close by. You can always call the office and find out where the reconciliation rooms are located and that way they will not know who is calling:) Do not be afraid of not doing it right…look it up on line and write it down and bring it with you. You can even bring your list of things to confess if that makes it easier for you. You will be so happy you did and the more you go, the easier it becomes.

I would recommend that you visit another parish. Call the office and ask if someone would be so kind as to show you where the confessionals are located and ask for the days and times when confessions are heard. Alternatively, you can visit Catholicweb.com and search on your local parishes for days and times.

When you enter the confessional, explain to the priest that you are new to confessing and ask that he please guide you through the process.

Also, when you call the office ask them for a pamphlet that guides you through an examination of conscience.

Here are the general steps in confession:

Enter the confessional, where you will have to decide whether to kneel behind the screen or sit face to face. Then begin: Bless me father for I have sinned. It has been (name the time since your last confession) since my last confession. I accuse myself of the following sins:

Name the sin and the number of times–as best you can remember–until you have named all of your serious sins. At the end, say something along the lines of, I am sorry for these and all of my sins, known and unknown.

The priest will offer you advise(possibly, though not always) and will assign a penance. He will then ask you to make a good act of contrition. You might want to take one with you if you don’t have it memorized. He will then say the words of absolution. You can then thank him and offer him a blessing. Go and complete your penance as soon as possible and praise God for this great sacrament.

Hi Janice,

In most churches, the confessional rooms are at the side of the main church (two doors right next to each other). So when sitting in your pew, have a look to the right or the left for two doors right next to each other. Also, if your local priest is difficult to talk to, there is nothing to stop you attending confession at another Catholic church. I usually begin a confession with the statement “bless me father for I have sinned, it has been X days/weeks since my last confession”. You may want to say something similar and explain to the priest that you have been afraid to attend confession; I think you will be very pleasantly surprised with the reaction and subsequent advice you receive the priest. I would suggest you have an examination of conscience (i.e. think of all the sins you can remember) prior to entering the confessional. In terms of frequency, I believe Our Lady has recommended that we attend confession once a month. I hope this is of some help.

God bless

Hello Janice, and welcome,

Problems with confession seem to be fairly common and this surprises me somewhat. I’ve just answered another thread similar to your own.

If you feel you can’t talk to your local priest find another Church, and another priest nearby, and use that Church/Priest specifically for your confessional visits once a fortnight, on once a month etc.

2 Cor 13:13
Eddy Barry

I’d suggest you go to the Liturgy and Sacraments forum. This is a common kind of question there.

Also, consider that you can direct your “silly questions” to the person running RCIA at your parish. That will be someone who is quite used to the idea that you’re relatively new at this!

In addition to what others have said…when in the confessional…ask the priest to guide you…just be honest and tell him how frightened you are…he will understand.

If you are wary of going in your parish…try another parish.

Here is a tip to know where the confessional is…at the time of confession…just observe where those going to confession start lining up…that is where the confessional is…:thumbsup:

Do you have a separate chapel for Adoration? A lot of times the confessionals are either in that chapel or nearby. It can be just a door - in the more contemporary parish we attend, the confessionals are 2 rooms, rather large, that contain both a kneeler and screen, and 2 chairs for face to face confession. There is always some kind of signal light so you know if someone is in there, The light will be red and when the room is free, you get the green light to go in!


There is no need to be scared or feel silly for asking anyone anything at church. We have all been there where we are new and have no idea where anything is. I am an Usher at my Church and I have people come up to me and ask me many things, the big one is where the restrooms are.

But do not worry about asking anyone, if it helps – go to your church on a weekday in the midafternoon. It should be quite and you can look around and see where everything is, that is my favorite time in church also. When there is no one or only a few people – it is very nice and I just feel closer to God then. But if you cannot do that because of work or such, go to mass 15 minutes early and ask an usher, then if they do not even know – volunteer to be an usher yourself so you can learn where everything is. And it is also a great way to server God. I hope this helps.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.