For the last year or two I have been contemplating making a general confession. The main reason I wish to do this is because I drifted away from the Church for approximately ten years before returning to the Church roughly six years ago. In the ten years I was away I committed numerous sins. When I came back to the Church I did go to confession. However, I was unsure of how to make a good confession at the time and so I fumbled through it and the priest seeing this cut me off and basically asked me if I was sorry for all of my sins and then absolved me once I said that I was sorry. Later on I realized that this priest while being a kind man was not the best priest. He got into repeated trouble for doing things like performing an invalid Mass (he actually replaced Communion hosts with cookies once! :() and to my knowledge he has since left the priesthood.
Now I know this in and of itself would not invalidate my confession since the Sacraments’ effectiveness do not depend on how worthy the priest is who performs them, but he also didn’t actually say the prayer of absolution. He said his own version of it. I know that if we forget to confess sins in the confessional they are forgiven anyway, but in this case I did not forget but rather did not know what I was doing. Afterwards as I began to frequent the Sacrament of Confession I learned how to confess my sins properly after making an examination of conscience. I have been making regular use of the Sacrament of Confession for the past six years. But I still felt like I should have confessed those past sins even though they are forgiven. In fact, recently I’ve come to understand that I **must **confess these past mortal sins (unless I am mistaken).
My questions are:
How does one go about making an appointment to make a general confession? Do you simply go to the priest or the parish secretary and set up an appointment for one?
I always make my confessions anonymously behind the screen. I would like my general confession to be anonymous too. Is this at all possible? Could I make an appointment to make a general confession without leaving my name?
Should I make any preparations beyond a more detailed examination of conscience prior to making a general confession? And may I write out my sins (since they will cover a number of years and thus be numerous) and bring in a sheet of paper to read from so I don’t lose track while in the confessional?
I appreciate any advice/insights you may be able to give me on this matter. Thank you.