The precept to confess at least once a year is a reminder to receive the sacrament of Penance (reconciliation) on a regular basis. If no grave sin has been committed in that time, confession is not necessary. However, frequent confession is of great value; it makes us more deeply conformed to Christ and more submissive to the voice of the Spirit.
Reconciliation is a personal encounter with Jesus Christ represented by the priest in the confessional or reconciliation room. The penitent admits to God that he/she has sinned, makes an act of sorrow, accepts a penance (prayers, acts of self â€“ denial, or works of service to others), and resolves to do better in the future.
After prayer and an examination of conscience to find out what sins you have committed, you enter the confessional.
(This new from, although preferable, is optional.)
Father greets you kindly.
You respond and then make and say the sign of the cross.
Father invites you to have confidence in God.
You answer: â€œAmen.â€
Father may read or recite some short selection from the Bible.
You introduce yourself (not by name) and tell how long it has been since your last confession. You than tell your sins. (Each mortal sin must be confessed as well as possible.) It is useful to mention your most frequent and most trouble some venial sins.
Father will give you any necessary advice and answers your questions. After he assigns a penance you make an act of sorrow;
O my God. I am heartily sorry for having offend you. And I detest all my sins, because they offend you, my God, who are all Good and deserving of all my love. Infirmly resolve, with the help of your grace, to sin no more and to avoid the near occasions of sin.
Father then places his hands on your head (or Extends his right hand toward you) and â€˜prays these words of forgiveness;
God, the Father of mercies, through the death and Resurrection of hi son has reconciled the world to himself And send the Holt spirit among as for the forgiveness of sins; through the ministry of the Church May God give you pardon and peace, I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the son, and of the Holy spirit.
Father then says, â€œGive thanks to the Lord, for he is good.â€
You answer, â€œHis mercy endures for ever.â€
Father then dismisses you in these are similar words, â€œthe Lords has freed you from your sins. Go in peace.â€