RCIA Candidates and Confession


Hi there! My mom and I are currently in RCIA - I’ll be baptized, and we’ll both be confirmed and receive the Eucharist. We’re so excited! However, we are both confused about when my mom should go to her First Confession, and we’ve been getting different answers from the RCIA facilitators. At first, they said that everyone who had been baptized previously needed to go to Confession prior to the Easter Vigil. Then, we were told that we do not confess our sins until after the Easter Vigil. We emailed one of the facilitators to clarify, and she agreed that we do not need to go until after the Easter Vigil. At our next session, some of the other RCIA participants were talking about their recent experiences going to their first confession…so we asked another facilitator, and she said we could go to the communal penance service as a “practice” for the sacrament without actually confessing our sins. Then, this evening I found a handout we’d received a couple weeks ago with upcoming important dates. The communal penance service is listed with a note saying all baptized candidates must go to confession before the Easter Vigil…

We’re so confused!! My mom doesn’t want to do the wrong thing, and we’re both embarassed to ask the facilitators again…does anyone have any thoughts about what is the appropriate thing to do?

Thanks in advance for your help!


If you are not baptized you do not need to go to confession before the Easter Vigil. Your baptism will wipe away all your sins. Starting after Easter you can begin to make confession a regular part of your spiritual life.

If you mother is already baptized then she needs to go to confession before the Easter Vigil. Her first confession will cover the time from her baptism until now. When she goes she should tell the priest that this is her first confession. After Easter she can also begin to make this sacrament a part of her spiritual life.

Have you both learned about confession? What the sacrament does and how to go about it?


Dear Becca

First of all, prayers and congratulations to you and your mother as you enter these final exciting weeks leading to the events of the Easter Vigil. Bet you once thought it would never get here. Also I want to mention that my response to your questions in based on my experience and training in conducting RCIA at my own parish for a number of years.

I’m going to assume that the confusion stems from the fact that there is one answer for those who have already been baptized and another for those who have not.

Those who have not yet been baptized (formerly called the “catechumens”, now the “elect”) **DO NOT go to confession **(receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation or Penance) before being baptized at the Easter Vigil. First of all an individual must be baptized before receiving any of the other sacraments. Secondly, baptism forgives us from any and all sins we have personally committed as well as cleansing us from original sin.

I’m guessing that your facilitators want you and the others who have not yet been baptized to attend the communal penance service so you will be familar with that that form of receiving the Sacrament of Reconcilation. In other words you will be present and join in the communal prayers but will not go to confession, will not receive the Sacrament of Reconcilation that night.

Now **those who have already been baptized ARE to go to confession **(receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation) **before they are received into the Church at the Easter Vigil. ** This can be done by individual confession during “regular” confession time at any parish, by appointment with any priest, or at a communal penance service which also includes individual confession.

These last weeks before the Easter Vigil are not only exciting but usually hectic and occasionally confusing with all kinds of last minute information and instructions, even for the faciliators. Don’t be embarrassed to ask you questions.


Sorry for repeating the very good information that SuscipeMeDomine already gave. I was interrupted and didn’t see that post.


May I just say WELCOME!!!
I was received five years ago. It was the second best thing I did in my life. (Marrying my wonderful wife was the first) .
I struggled with faith for decades, I was a Baptist lay preacher for thirty years. But I have never once looked back since I became a Catholic.
Have a wonderful life in your new found faith - First Confession is scary, but Confession becomes a treasure to be, well, treasured…
God Bless you both


Well stated.
Welcome home & God bless you & your mother on your RCIA journey. I’ll be praying for the both of you at the Easter Vigil.


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