Preparation for Confession

For the past two weeks I started going back to the Catholic church. I want to be able to receive communion again so I’m in the process of setting up a time to meet with the Priest/Rev. I think I’m going to opt for a face to face confession, but the last time I’ve been to confession was right before I was confirmed. So I’ve very nervous about this whole process. I think I know how to start and finish, but what kind of things do I confess?

For example, what are Mortal Sins? Grave Sins? Venial Sins?

Could anyone give me some examples?

I know of things I can confess, but I don’t want to miss anything. It’s been 10+ years so how do I sum all of that up without having a 2 hour confession?! :shrug:

I just did this last night. My last confession was 18 years ago. I had all the same questions you did. I couldn’t remember how many times or even details. I read some questions for the examination of conscience and knew I did some of them even if I couldn’t remember details (i.e. told a secret, disrespectful to parents).

I’m not really sure what is and is not a “grave matter” and without all the details I couldn’t evaluate if what was and wasn’t venial vs. mortal. Father explained to me that part of his job was to help me evaluate what really is and really isn’t a sin that needs to be confessed. He also told me I could just say “many” if I didn’t remember the times but knew it was more than once.

I gave more of a summary and then add some specific details as I remembered them. I don’t know if my examples are the “proper” way to do it but this was how I said some things:

For ____ years I questioned my faith in God and in the teachings of the Church. As a result during those years I failed to meet my Sunday Mass Obligation and I failed to go to confession once a year. I also failed to pray and read the scripture daily.

Many times, I was disrespectful towards my parents, spoke out of anger to friends and family, engaged in gossip- some even maliciously. (I might insert a specific example here if I remembered one).

I’m sure others know more and have better examples but I really worried about having my confession go on for hours too. I did face to face and he helped me along. He didn’t seem to mind the summary format- but I also got the impression there really wasn’t a “wrong” way to do it.

Hope it helps and good luck!


Google an examination of conscience and start looking it over.

Here’s an example:

Sounds like you made an appointment with the Priest, so time won’t be an issue.

Pray to the Holy Spirit to reveal to you your sinfulness, and start thinking about it.

Tell the Priest when you arrive that it has been awhile, and you’d like to make a general confession. He’ll take the lead, and start asking you questions(my experience anyway)

Get it all out, don’t be afraid, make a GOOD confession(don’t hold back), you’ll feel lighter than air when you leave.

Welcome back, God bless…

When I made my general confession, I was more specific on most things rather than just saying “many times.” I would give my best estimate as to how many times I might have done something per day/week/month over a period of how many years. Habitual sins were confessed as such: “I gossiped about others pretty much habitually for x years.” And if I did something and couldn’t remember when or for how long, I simply told the priest, “I don’t remember how often or how long I did that.” Just do the best you can, and as another poster said, don’t hold anything back. If you deliberately withhold a mortal sin, it invalidates your confession and then you have to add that to your list! I hope your experience is as good as mine was – when I was finished, the priest gave thanks to God for my wonderful confession and assured me that those sins were all gone. He didn’t say a word about my rather “colorful” past, except to express joy that I had put that behind me and could now move on with my life. I was nervous when I went in (I went face-to-face for this), but I felt so wonderful when I walked out, so cleansed and joyful!

A friend of mine came back to the Church after 30 years away. His experience was similar to mine. He said that the priest didn’t scold him for being away or anything like that, but simply welcomed him back and said, “See you Sunday!”

Wishing you the best. You won’t be sorry you did this. God bless.

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