My First Reconciliation(Confession?)

Here is what I picked up from my local parish church–
My First Reconciliation.

Father welcomes me and I make the sign of the cross.

I tell Father something I am happy about in my life.

I tell Father about the times in my life when I have made the wrong choices.

Father gives me something to do or a prayer to say to show that I am sorry.

I say a prayer to God Our Father:

O my God,I am very sorry that I have sinned against you,because you are so good and with your help I will not sin again.(the short act of contrition)

Father forgives me:
In the name of the Father,and of the son and of the Holy Spirit.Amen.

I make the sign of the cross.

I thank Father.

I return to my family who is waiting at the fonts.I will bless myself with the Holy Water.I then return to my seat and pray quietly.

On a lighter note ,here is my “confession” based on this approach----"father,I was very good;as I gave away six bottles of beer–though I did make a bad choice; I should have only given away two bottles as I got very thirsty–so please forgive me for this wrong choice! as a penance ,I am told to buy twelve bottles and still give away six, but to remember him as well!!(actually I do not drink alchohol)

not wrong, simply woefully incomplete

Bless me Father for I have sinned
this is my first confession
my sins are
use nouns and verbs, and adverb for frequency or number of times
leave out the adjectives and the back story unless the priest asks for it

for these and all the sins of my past life I am heartily sorry.

Father counsels you if necessary
Father assigns a penance
Father asks you to make a good act of contrition, in your own words or a formal prayer
Father absolves you, which act as he stands in the person of Christ himself completely absolves, forgives and washes away all sins of your past life.
He dismisses you.
You do your penance and thank God for his mercy and go your ways in peace.

much easier just to memorize and abandon notions like “bad choices and mistakes” (which are not sins) and stick to “sins”.

A bad choice is the prime rib instead of the broiled fish.
A sin is choosing premarital sex instead of waiting for marriage.
A mistake is buying a gas guzzling car.
A sin is stealing a car.

While I agree with Annie that this is a woefully incomplete form of confession, I suspect, from the prat about “returning to my family at the fonts” that this is likely a form used during the initiation into the church process. It’s probably designed to not take a lot of time since there may be quite a number of folks and several things going on besides confession.

That said, my personal choice would be to use this form for the benefit of others, and then return to confession the next week after doing a more complete examination of conscience. Not that I doubt the forgiveness or the graces received at the initial confession, but because I’d see the benefit of receiving far greater graces by opening up the floodgates through a more thorough self examination and confession.

In point of fact this is what I did when I returned to The Church. My initial confession was rather perfunctory, and as time went on I felt more and more ill at ease. So I sat down, did a thorough examination of conscience, even writing it down, and then went back to confession. The benefit was enormous :thumbsup:


The best and most complete Act of Contrition is:

*O my God, I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee and I detest all my sins because I dread the loss of heaven and the pains of hell, but most of all because they have offended Thee, my God, Who art all good and deserving of all my love. I firmly resolve with the help of Thy grace to confess my sins, to do penance, and to amend my life. Amen.


In order for the priest to give absolution he must be assured you’re sufficiently sorry for your sins and purpose of amendment. If the priest is not adequately assured the penitent is actually penitent, he cannot absolve the person’s sins. The traditional Act of Contrition gives the priest what he needs in order to absolve. This one expresses both a less perfect sorrow for sin, a more perfect sorrow, and also a purpose of amendment.

We just got a strongly worded sermon on sincere repentance yesterday at Mass. In order for your sins to be forgiven you much actually be sorry for them and plan on not sinnng again. For example, confessing that you use artificial birth control, but not intending to cease using it afterwards does not suffice. It is also not good enough to be sorry for for your sins because of their temporal effects (ie: you got caught stealing,had you not been cuaght you wouldn’t be sorry, or you smashed your car and now you don’t have a car, etc), Also, You also need to have contrition, ideally perfect contrition (you’re sorry for your sins because, and only because they have offended God, who is all deserving of our love, but for Confession, imperfect contrition (you’re sorry because you’re afraid of going to Hell) will suffice. That’s where the Act of Contrition comes into play. (I can’t believe I actually remembered, in detail, what the priest said yesterday, and this was only the part of sincere repentance. :D)

On a lighter note ,here is my “confession” based on this approach----"father,I was very good;as I gave away six bottles of beer–though I did make a bad choice; I should have only given away two bottles as I got very thirsty–so please forgive me for this wrong choice! as a penance ,I am told to buy twelve bottles and still give away six, but to remember him as well!!(actually I do not drink alchohol)/

Please keep in mind that there is nothing “light” about confession. Confession is a serious affair; it deals with the state of your soul. Making a mockery of Confession is a grace sin. I’m not trying to scare you, just make sure you realize the seriousness of Confession, which seems to be lacking in a lot of parishes today.

I was at confession this morning and my penance to reflect in front of the Blessed Sacrament on “deserving of all my love” or “worthy of all my love”. God as deserving or worthy of my love - what a concept nobody ever asked me to reflect on that before.

Sorry for the sidetrack

I once had to pray they entire rosary and reflect on each of the sorrowful mysteries, and offer up all my sins. Not too bad, but definitely heavier than those 3 Hail Mary’s and an Our Father penance priests used to give me. I never really understood the point of penance…until I got the bigger one.

This seems to be designed for a 1st or 2nd grader making their first confession in preparation for receiving First Communion. (In particular the part about returning to one’s family waiting by the fonts). While it may be inadequate for an older person, it is probably suitable and age-appropriate for a 7 year old.

Confession on a weekday and a thoughtful penance . . . Arlington diocese?

Wow, you folks get light penances!

From my regular confessor, I have gotten such penances as to read and reflect on the Gospel of John; another time I was assigned the penance of making a weekend retreat. And by the way, I got a lot out of doing those penances, because they forced me to do some more thinking, made me confront “causes and conditions” of some repeated venial sins, and helped me get over the spiritual hump, so to speak.

He additionally gives out temporal as well as spiritual advice as well as absolution as the need arises. It’s always been spot-on.

I know that a lot of parishioners avoid his confessional like the plague, preferring to go to “Father Five Hail Marys” (the other priest in our parish who gives out light penances) and just get on with it. But I have come to have a lot of regard for this particular priest’s insights. And yes, I do try to get to confession on weekdays, particularly when I have something that is very stubborn or very troubling to me.

I feel blessed. I wish everyone was similarly blessed.

You are correct in that it is the first confession of a seven year old children,though what struck me about this notice(which was handed out to the adults attending) was all those things that Love Divine kindly posted, which was lacking.Sure,I would not expect a detailed examination of possible sins that an adult would be guilty of,but what is the message of The Sacrament of Reconciliation being taught to future adults? What were the key operative ideas
(1) talk about the happy things we do (2) lifes’ wrong choices–what is missing?The sense of sin–an offence against God by breaking The Commandments.

Whilst I welcome Love Divines’ reproach about making a joke of Confession,I thought that humour sometimes can bring out the absurdity of the instructions given.Perhaps I have mixed in Catholic company for too long,as confession jokes were just part of my life.I recall the penance of the Irish guy who confessed to bombing an empty police jail;and he got a penance to do the “Stations”;)!!
Jokes aside,I do value going to “Confession”–even though on most Saturday mornings I seem to be the only sinner in the whole of the parish(maybe they go elsewhere?)

St Paul writes that if we want to boast we should do it to boast of our sins!! I think you outdo me–as I never ever was given a full rosary to say(much the pity!)Though after been given the grace of reverting to my Catholic roots & faith at the age of twenty two.A priest used to ask me to read a chaper of St.James(which was nice, as I attended a junior school in his honour) though I had to do it when I go home.I remember when I was in my senior college,when each month a group of clergy came to hear our confessions.I confessed my sins to this priest and he was shocked by what he heard and gave out an audible sound.The priest was a cannon lawyer and I always wondered why he was surprised ;as he had learnt about every possible sin in the sun.If he had wept–well that I could have understood.
Thanks for your good version of what a confession preparation format should look like!


In reference to the Bolded above…I think this is exactly correct. Just from my own experience and from what I see on the boards here. It seems that most Catholics never get past this 2nd grade level of understanding of sin and of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
It seems to me that this is something that should be revisited in Catachesis at least every 2 years. Getting deeper into understanding of sin and repentanc and how to approach confession so as to get the maximum benefit from it and grow in holiness.


I was baptized as an infant and attended 13 years of Catholic education and no one taught me much about Reconciliation. What I told you, I literally just learned on Sunday from our FSSP priest. Yeah, we don’t go to mass for the preaching, but when it’s good and educational, it does help out a lot too! So many pieces I’m left to pick up.

Awhile back, I heard a convert from - I think it was CoE - talk about how different confession is seen in the CoE as opposed to the Catholic Church. I think this must have been one of the CoE pastors who converted and then ordained…
Anyway - this person was saying how they could always tell when a Catholic, or former Catholic, had found their way into the confessional by the very rigid form they used. In his tradition, (CoE?, Anglican?) confession was used in a much more relaxed, give and take, advisory way. In other words those who used it, did so in a more “adult” manner than most Catholics seem to.


I am not sure watering down my confession for the benefit of others would do me or them any good. Say what you did and how many times you did it. Even if you name every sin on the list, it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to make a thorough confession.

The priest may be brief with his advice, and you should try to avoid discussion that isn’t relevant at that point (save more detailed spiritual discussion for spiritual direction). That doesn’t mean the confession can’t be thorough though.

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