[quote="twf, post:11, topic:308403"]
Being contrite is essential to the sacrament, but the Church does not require us to say a particular act of contrition. In my experience - in various dioceses - only half of priests ask you to make an act of contrition. It is no where mandated by the Church. It is solely at the discretion of the priest.
Well, technically, it is supposed to be done, but it can be dispensed with for good cause. Keep in mind that beginning with a reading from scripture is also supposed to be done, but rarely is.
Also keep in mind that the Act of Contrition is really an Act of Contrition. There are many formulas for an Act of Contrition including the simple "Jesus, be merciful to me, a sinner." There, done. Also, an Act of Contrition may be put into one's own words and not use any traditional formula.
Actually, I wonder why the introduction, "Father, forgive me for I have sinned," isn't in itself a proper Act of Contrition if it can be expressed so simply or in one's own words without having to follow a prescribed formula.