In Confession...

When do you say, “bless me, Father, for I have sinned”?

When I went a few months ago, I said it the second I knelt and I made the Sign of the Cross as I said it.
I was really nervous when I went last night. So I didn’t say anything when I knelt. Fr. started and I made the Sign of the Cross. Then after that I said, “bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It’s been — since my last confession”
Did I have to say it, or should I have just said how long it had been since my last confession?

What do you all do? And do you say, “bless me, Father” or “forgive me, Father”? Just curious.

Traditionally that is the first thing you say. However there is no requirement.

Yeah. In the traditional form, when you say, “Bless me Father” he literally blesses you, and as he makes the sign of the cross over you, you make it as well. If I remember correctly, in the new form we were taught to say “Forgive me Father” instead.

Often when I go in the priest doesn’t say anything. So I begin w/ the sign of the cross (saying it aloud), then I say Bless me father…

These are the steps that are listed in my son’s bible school book from when he took his first penance:

  1. Say the Act of Contrition
  2. Then you make the sign of the cross
  3. Then say how long it has been since your last confession
  4. Then tell the priest your sins
  5. When you have finished say: “For these and all my sins, I am sorry”.
  • Then you receive your penance
    The priest may then ask you to re-recite the act of contrition
    After forgiveness is given you say “Amen”
    Then he may say to give thanks to the lord and you say:
    “His mercy endures forever”
    Book quoted from: Jesus Our Lord (faith and life series/Ignatius Press)

*But then again, I personally have never known a priest to turn away someone from confession because they didn’t follow the above steps.
Hope this tutorial helped.
God Bless

In every other area of life, the person who waits is never the first to speak. Think of placing a telephone call: when the other person picks up, he says hello first, not you. When you reach the head of the line, it is the clerk who starts with “how may I help you”. In my opinion the confessional ought to be exactly the same - it is the priest who should speak first. Logically you don’t know if the priest is even ready until he gives you some signal.

In my opinion the way the ritual is written is a bit awkward; but if you think about it this way: that the act of getting into the confessional is the equivalent of saying “Bless me Father I have sinned”, the equivalent of a telephone ringing, then logically the priest should follow suit and bless you.

Remember the ritual is written for confessions done in a confessional but also for those done face-to face, where you can tell by body language that he is ready and then you can begin with “Bless me Father”. But then again, if he is going to bless you, then when? While you are speaking? That’s awkward.

Besides, most confessional boxes have cells on both sides of the priest; you wouldn’t want to be saying “Bless me Fath - Father? Are you there? Oops sorry” while he is dealing with the other penitent.

Thanks for the replies!

You’re right about a priest never turning someone away for not following those steps, because I’ve never done those (not all of them, anyway).

  1. Say the Act of Contrition

I’ve never heard of saying the Act of Contrition before you say your sins. Is that something new?

  1. When you have finished say: “For these and all my sins, I am sorry”.

I should really start saying that. I’m usually so nervous that I just say something like, “ummm I think that’s it” :blush:

Then he may say to give thanks to the lord and you say:
“His mercy endures forever”

I don’t say that either. :o

I don’t think I was ever taught to say any of these things. Is that book new?

If Fr starts before me (I’ve had to bring baby before, and adjust something quickly, etc), then I’ll say “Bless me etc” after him. If I am ready, then I start by saying “Bless me etc.” :slight_smile:

Many priests, in my experience, will be the ones to initiate, perhaps saying a short prayer that you be given the grace to make a good confession or something.

If a priest does not, and you’re sure he’s ready (eg you are doing face to face confession, or there is a thin curtain rather than a grille and you can see that he is listening) then you can start.

Either way, I would always say as you did - ‘Bless me Father, etc etc’. It is quite acceptable to say ‘Forgive me Father’ instead. After all, the priest does both bless and forgive in God’s name. There’s no set preference one way or the other, but I think the media tends to use ‘bless’ more often.

Occasionally the media will use “Bless me Father, $200 on Wakefield Beauty to place in the fifth”.

I go face to face, so we usually exchange pleasantries (Hi, I’m back…). He may say something like “go right ahead, Miss K”, and I begin with “Bless me Father, for I have sinned. It’s been about a month since my last confession.”

Next you confess your sins. Usually to signal that I am done, I say “I am sorry for these and all my sins.”. Sometimes he will offer advice before he knows I am finished, and sometimes “that’s all I can remember for now” flows better to let him know that I am finished… There is no magical power in saying exactly the right words.

He will offer advice or counsel or not, assign a penance, and then ask me to say an Act of Contrition. Absolution follows, and then he tells me to go in peace.

Don’t stress about the words. Contrition, Confession, Absolution are what’s important

I usually walk in and the priest says hi or something like that. Then makes and says the sign of the cross then I say bless me father for I have sinned. Apparently from all these posts each father has his own system.


Thanks everyone! :slight_smile:

I’ll try not to stress about the words. Thanks :slight_smile:

Apparently from all these posts each father has his own system.


Occasionally the media will use “Bless me Father, $200 on Wakefield Beauty to place in the fifth”.


If I am doing confession with a priest who doesn’t know me, I always mention that I’m an RCIA kind of Catholic, so I probably do things differently than cradle Catholics. I always say “Forgive me Father” and then go into my sins.

If it’s my parish priest, he knows me and I just get on with the business of confessing my sins after saying “forgive me Father.”
I have had many priests tell me to do my penance and my contrition after I leave the confessional.

My priest isn’t picky, it’s all good and I manage to stumble through it each time!
I really don’t think it’s the words or the what we say, God knows if we are truly sorry and even if we mess up, it’s just good that we are there and being forgiven!

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