What happens during the Sacrament of Reconciliation/Penance?
Enter the confessional and make the sign of the cross and say with Father: In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
You say: Bless me Father, for I have sinned. It has been (tell Father how long ago) since my last Confession. If it’s been quite a long time, it’s ok to give an estimate.
Then confess your sins and say how often you committed them.
When you are through, Father may ask a few questions. Often he will talk to you about your sins and offer ways to help you think about them and how to prevent them from happening.
Then Father will give you Penance and you will say an Act of Contrition.
Act of Contrition
My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong, and failing to do good, I have sinned against you whom I love above all things. I firmly intend, with your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin. Amen.
A very simple Act of Contrition is also acceptable: O Lord, have mercy upon me, a sinner. Amen
Father will give you Absolution, dismiss you with a blessing. You leave the Confessional to do your Penance. It is usually best, if possible, to do Penance as soon as possible after Confession.