Just started practicing again, several questions please


Its been a long time since I was an active catholic and have several questions. I grew up going to catholic schools but have forgotten a lot.

  1. Can a mortal sin be forgiven in confession?

  2. When the priest says the gospel according to “” people make signs on their face and chest and say something. Can anyone fill me in on what they are doing and saying?

3 how come most the churches I call (chicago) don’t have an answering machine giving times of mass and confessionals and what have you?


First off… God bless you in your journey of looking back into your faith! :smiley:

  1. Yes, every sin can be forgiven in confession, with a contrite heart.
    Here are some wonderful links on sin and reconciliation from the Catechism of the Catholic Church… (the full table of contents is here)

  2. This is a common practice: At the priest’s declaration “… from the Gospel according to…” and the people’s response, we trace a small cross on our forehead, lips, and chest, while silently praying, “May the Word of the Lord be on my mind, on my lips, and in my heart.”

I don’t know the origin of this tradition… maybe someone else can provide a link as to the significance…

  1. Really? That can vary from parish to parish… I know it’s very common to have a nice recording like that in parishes down here in FL… :shrug:


Yes unless you are not truely repentant. The only unforgivable sin is to truely believe that Jesus Christ can not forgive your sins.

  1. When the priest says the gospel according to “” people make signs on their face and chest and say something. Can anyone fill me in on what they are doing and saying?

The following comes from another web page.
“Or a cross is traced with the thumb on one’s own head, lips and heart, a gesture which asks Christ to instruct our minds, aid us in our witness, and renew our hearts. (This sign is made at the reading of the Gospel by both priest and people.)” The actual phrase said by the priest is given in post above me, the people in the congregation don’t have to pray the same exact thing, but they should pray something similar.

3 how come most the churches I call (chicago) don’t have an answering machine giving times of mass and confessionals and what have you?

That depends on the church, some do some don’t. On churches where you contact the secretary directly during office hours, all you have to do is ask. You can also go to their web page.

Welcome back.


My sister worked in a rectory, they didn’t have one, I guess because they never updated their phone system. The person answering the phone should be able to help, also if you go by the church bulletins usually have mass times and confession times.

I would suggest also purchasing a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church.


Hey! Welcome back!

I usually look up mass times online if I can find them ( although if they don’t have an answering machine, maybe they don’t have a website either ). Or even in the phone book, the Catholic churches list their mass times.


Thanks friends. Your help makes my heart glad.


Oh… I forgot to mention…
This is a GREAT site that has compiled a lot of times for Masses around the world!


Thanks friends. I really appreciate it. Maybe with your help ill finally be able to overcome this.


Hi Dragoro. Fellow revert, here, but I was not away as long as you were.

Feels GOOD to be back, doesn’t it? Welcome home. :smiley:


As they say, welcome home!

I did want to mention, regarding #1, that excommunacable sins require the absolution of the bishop. Probably the most common one of these is participating in an abortion (as mother, father, or doctor, e.g.). In this case you would confess to the priest, but by canon law he has to resolve it with the bishop and give absolution at a later time.

I wasn’t aware of this until it came up in a sacraments class.

God bless!


Didn’t know there were excommunible sins. Don’t think I violated em. Is there a list of em somewhere?


I would speak to your confessor.
Usually, they are pretty serious sins like spreading heresy and what not. And I think one needs to have knowledge that the sin is excommunicable, and do it anyway.

Mizznicole, although I can’t remember where I heard, but unfortunately since abortion is very common, many bishops have given their priests the ability to absolve this directly. Does anyone else know for sure?

I would also recommend watching EWTN, especially Father Pacwa, Father Corapi, and Father Groeschelle’s programs.


I’ve heard that as well, and I believe it was on Catholic Answers Live. Maybe someone could post the question on the AAA forum (everytime I try to that I never see my question asked or answered. I must not be doing it right :shrug: ).

In Christ,



I am out in the southwestern burbs, and just wanted you to know I was praying for you; also, some parishes not only have answering machines, but web sites where they post all their info.

If you are looking toward a good confession, I HIGHLY recommend you go down to Madison and Wells and go to St. Peter’s In The Loop. That’s what they do all day, confession, and they do it best IMO. It is easy to reach on the bus or L, too. The Franciscans are used to people making their first confession in “quite awhile”.

Here are a couple sites for examination of conscience:

Welcome home!


Thanks for all the insight and info!


Welcome back!!

yes, www.masstimes.org is great. As a last resort, drive by the parish you’d like to attend. The information posted out front is usually accurate.


That’s what I thought till I tried to go to mass this morn. Sign outside says 8 daily. Showed up and no mass and said said at 5;30 inside. Was kinda annoyed. Going to St. Peters as was recommended earlier.


Oh, bummer! So much for “usually accurate”…:shrug:


Wow thanks for the advice about St Peters!!! I went to confession there for first time there in 15 years. I got to do it with Father Bill, the pastor of the church. What a great guy!


And don’t worry if you aren’t perfect. We’re all practicing. Some of us play better than others, that’s all.


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