I plan to start RCIA in September. My question is what do I do in the meantime when I sin? Since I can’t go to confession, what do I do?
Go to confession and let the priest know your situation. Canon 844 allows for the local bishop to establish norms for Protestants to receive the Sacrament of Penance. The priest will know these and will be able to make the suitable judgement better than anyone on the internet.
And try not to sin
Make an act of perfect contrition. From the Catechism - note paragraph 1452 in particular.
[quote=Catechism of the Catholic Church]VII. THE ACTS OF THE PENITENT
1450 "Penance requires . . . the sinner to endure all things willingly, be contrite of heart, confess with the lips, and practice complete humility and fruitful satisfaction."49
1451 Among the penitent’s acts contrition occupies first place. Contrition is "sorrow of the soul and detestation for the sin committed, together with the resolution not to sin again."50
1452 When it arises from a love by which God is loved above all else, contrition is called “perfect” (contrition of charity). Such contrition remits venial sins; it also obtains forgiveness of mortal sins if it includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramental confession as soon as possible.51
1453 The contrition called “imperfect” (or “attrition”) is also a gift of God, a prompting of the Holy Spirit. It is born of the consideration of sin’s ugliness or the fear of eternal damnation and the other penalties threatening the sinner (contrition of fear). Such a stirring of conscience can initiate an interior process which, under the prompting of grace, will be brought to completion by sacramental absolution. By itself however, imperfect contrition cannot obtain the forgiveness of grave sins, but it disposes one to obtain forgiveness in the sacrament of Penance.52
1454 The reception of this sacrament ought to be prepared for by an examination of conscience made in the light of the Word of God. The passages best suited to this can be found in the Ten Commandments, the moral catechesis of the Gospels and the apostolic Letters, such as the Sermon on the Mount and the apostolic teachings.53
Talk to your priest. Since you have not even begun RCIA then I would certainly talk to a priest before just going on your own.
In the mean time, pray the act of Perfect Contrition… and mean it.
"Oh God, I am heartily sorry for having offended you, and I detest all of my sins, because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell, but most of all, Lord, 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 confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life. Amen"
When I was in RCIA I wondered the same thing, OP. They kept pushing they day back for our first confessions (I’d been examining my conscience for 9 months and wanted badly to confess). Finally I asked if I could just go on my own and give my confession, and they said that would be ok. I went the very next day. Mind you this was just 2 weeks before I was confirmed, and had been in RCIA for several months already. Talk to your priest about it first.
A less wordy alternative to the above, and the one I was taught in my catechism, is:
“O my God, because you are so very good, I am sorry I have offended you, and by the help of Your grace I will not sin again.”
Try not to fall into the trap - as I once did - of, realising that I was prone to relapsation into sin, saying “…I hope not to sin again”. This earned me a frightful telling off by my confessor and he told me that at the moment of receiving absolution you should be resolved not to commit sin. He then made me repeat my act of contrition in the first form.
We shouldn’t be afraid of this as God knows us more intimately than we know ourselves, and knows what is in our hearts. May He bring what He has started in you to its completion in Him.
I was expressly told by my priest I could not confess when I was at your point in the journey. Though he would offer me advice and guidance.
Go talk to him and see.
i was under the impression as well that the sacrament of confession was for catholics only…
we could go but the priest could not absolve us…
I thought it was for anyone baptized; strange.
At any rate, talk to your priest and abide by what he tells you. Live a life of good will and pray hard if you sin, both for forgiveness and the grace to do better next time.
Well, first confessions are typically done in the days leading up to confirmation for those who are already baptized and entering the Church. They’re not yet Catholic. (gotta give confession before confirmation or else they can’t take first communion at confirmation, which would be strange and possibly even invalid)
For someone who has not even begun RCIA though (as is the case with the OP) then they really should talk to their priest and see what they would have her do at this early stage of her entering the Church.
OP. Talk to your priest about this. In the mean time say that act of perfect contrition, and know that God knows perfectly well your intent to confess your sins when it is appropriate for you to do so, according to the direction of your priest.