If it’s been a while since your last confession and you need a refresher on the process, don’t worry! This article will help you prepare to make a good confession.
Most congregations offer reconciliation services during the week, but some churches hold them daily. If your parish doesn’t offer a service that fits your schedule, call your pastor and set up a private appointment. You can make a private appointment with the priest if you think your confession will last longer than 15 minutes). It’s a good idea if you’ve left the church, committed a serious sin, or haven’t confessed in a long time.
Repentance and confession is about truly feeling remorse. You must clearly repent for the sin you have committed and not want to commit it again in the future. Showing God that your repentance is real and authentic means confessing your sin and resolving not to commit it again. This does not mean that you can never sin again. We, humans, do it every day. You’re simply trying to avoid opportunities that led you to sin — that counts as repentance. If you will, God will help you resist temptation as long as you have the intention to improve.
Think about what you did wrong and why it is wrong. Consider the pain you caused God by committing this sin and that Jesus suffered all the more because of it on the cross. That’s why you should express contrition, and real contrition is a necessary part of a good confession. Ask yourself these questions as you examine your conscience: When was the last time I went to confession? Was it an honest and thorough confession? Did I make a special promise to God last time? Did I keep my promise? Have I committed a serious sin or a mortal sin since my last confession? Did I obey the ten commandments? Have I ever doubted my faith?
A good place to start is with the 10 Commandments in Exodus 20:1:17 or Deuteronomy 5:6:21. Here are a few excerpts of how God extends a helping hand in loving forgiveness: “But if we confess our sins, then God faithfully and justly fulfills his promise: he will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every evil thing.” 1 John 1:9. How was the forgiveness of sins made possible? “My beloved children, I am writing to you so that you will no longer sin. But should anyone be guilty, then one will intercede for us with the Father who is himself without any sin: Jesus Christ.” 1 John 2:1,2 To whom should sins be confessed, and why? “Against you, only you, have I sinned, and done this evil in your sight.” Psalm 51:4. See Genesis 39:9.
You want to be honest and remorseful. Say a prayer to the Holy Spirit to guide you and help you remember and feel true repentance for your sins. Maybe something like, “Come Holy Spirit, enlighten my mind to know my sins, touch my heart to repent, and improve my life. Amen.” Try to identify the causes of your sins: Do you have questionable tendencies? Is it a question of personal weakness? Or is it just bad habits? Try to eliminate at least one of these causes. This will be easiest to do by either eliminating a negative thing from your life or focusing on what is most positive.
Remember that your confessions are strictly confidential — the priest will never (and cannot) share your sins with anyone. He is commissioned to keep the confessional secret, regardless of the circumstances — even in the case of a mortal sin. Don’t let your worries influence your confession. Kneel down and say, “Praise be to Jesus Christ!” The priest replies, “Forever. Amen.” So the priest will bless you, making the sign of the cross. He will ask you when your last confession was. Respond like this: “My last confession was … weeks/months ago. In humility and repentance, I confess my sins.” Make a clear confession of all sins. When you have confessed all your sins, say, “I repent of all my sins from my heart. My Jesus, please have mercy!” Remember that your confessions are strictly confidential — the priest will never (and cannot) share your sins with anyone. He is commissioned to keep the confessional secret, regardless of the circumstances — even in the case of a mortal sin. Don’t let your worries influence your confession.
In the Byzantine rite kneel facing the symbol of Christ, the priest will sit at your side and may wear his epitrachelion. It is a stole-like ribbon worn around the neck by priests and bishops of the Eastern Church during worship. He can also wait until the prayer of absolution. In other Eastern Churches: Shapes may vary. Regardless of the variant, tell him your sins (and how many times you’ve committed them). Start with the gravest sin down to the smallest. Do not omit mortal sins that you remember. You don’t have to go into explicit detail about the sins unless the priest deems it necessary–and in that situation, he will ask for it.
In many cases, he gives you advice on how to avoid your sins in the future. Listen carefully and remember what he gives you for repentance. If you need help, don’t hesitate to ask. In the end, he will likely recommend that the atonement given be carried out as soon as possible. Then the priest absolves you. During the absolution, repent once more and make the sign of the cross. The priest will say, “I absolve you of your sins in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Answer to the absolution with an Amen. The confession is answered by the priest with a “Praise be to Jesus Christ!” finished and you answer: “Forever. Amen.”
Go back to the church and to your former place. As you begin your penance, thank God that He has forgiven you. If you have forgotten a serious sin, know that it was forgiven with the others, but be sure to confess it in your next confession. If the priest has given you some prayers of repentance, say them calmly and reverently. Kneel in the pew with hands folded and head bowed until you have completed your penance and adequately reflected on your experience. Go to church often for the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Be joyful and confident because the Lord loves you and has been merciful. Live for him every minute of your life and let everyone see how wonderful it is to serve God. stay alert Don’t use your confession as an excuse for sin. Rejoice that they are forgiven and live as God wills to minimize the need for confession.
Don’t be afraid to let it all out. One of the great advantages of confession for a human being is that the priests are excellent counselors and mentors. They have probably heard confessions very similar to yours, and are therefore likely willing to offer you ways to avoid sin in the future. The seal of confession prevents a priest from revealing your sins to anyone else. It would result in excommunication for him. This means that no one, not even the Pope, can ask him to unveil them. Furthermore, a priest cannot be compelled to confess your sins in a legal process. Be clear, concise, contrite and complete. This means: Sure: don’t use “euphemisms” (words that make it sound better) – be straightforward and don’t take too much time saying it. Precise: Don’t beat around the bush and look for explanations and excuses. Confession is the only trial where the guilty receive a full pardon! Remorseful: You must regret it. Sometimes we have no regrets – that’s OK as long as we try. Just by going to confession, we know in our hearts that we regret it. Sometimes additional repentance and trying to make amends is a good way to show God how sorry we are for hurting Him. Complete: We must tell all our sins. It is a contradiction if we do not confess all our grave and mortal sins. It’s also a good idea to confess other venial sins, although it’s not required. When we receive Holy Communion with godliness and a pure heart, our venial sins can be forgiven. However, it is always good practice to go to confession frequently and be able to repent of all sins, leaving nothing out so that nothing can manifest. If we ever go to confession and have intentionally not confessed a mortal sin, that in itself is a sin and we must go back to confession and confess that sin, and also the intentional omission. We should never go to Holy Communion unless we have confessed serious sins. It is a sin and a sacrilege and deeply offends God. Think of the purpose of this sacrament. The penitent seeks forgiveness in order to be reconciled with God and his church. True, God knows our sins, we don’t have to “remind Him”. Although this sacrament can make you feel better, it is simply a natural result of restoring communion with God and His Church. The sinner repents and renews his baptismal covenant. See CCC 1440 & the following: 
Be careful that examining your conscience doesn’t turn into a constant feeling of guilt. Consider your wrongdoing calmly and honestly. Make sure you really regret what you did. Your confession is empty if you don’t really mean what you say and you won’t be forgiven. Under normal circumstances, in the Catholic Church, apart from Catholics, only the Orthodox can receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. However, this restriction can be lifted in the case of serious circumstances (e.g. imminent death of a Protestant Christian).