Preparing Children for the Sacrament of Penance

How to Make a Good Confession

1. Begin with a good examination of conscience – (see below)
Think about all that you have learned about the Ten Commandments, the Beatitudes, the Corporal and spiritual works of Mercy, the Laws of the Church and so on. Have you lived up to them? Have you in any way broken any of God’s rules or done anything that in anyway offends God? Know your sins and what you are going to say before you go into the confessional.

2. You must be truly sorry for your sins.
Our sins hurt God and they hurt us too because they rob our soul of God’s grace. If we are not truly sorry for the sins we have committed, it is not possible to be truly forgiven. If we are not truly sorry, it makes it difficult for us to be strong enough to not commit those sins again. It is in being truly sorry that we have our sins forgiven and we receive God’s grace and it is God’s grace that helps give us the strength to choose not to sin again.

3. You must make up your mind to try not to sin again.
This is very difficult but we must always remember to ask for God’s help. When we find ourselves having to make a difficult choice, always remember to ask yourself what Jesus would do. If it is something that He would not do, then you should not do it either. Select your actions carefully. Choose your words wisely. Be mindful of the shows you watch and the music you listen to. Choose wisely the friends with whom you associate. Be an image of God.

4. Confess your sins to the priest.
Never be afraid to tell the priest your sins. He is there in the place of Jesus and he wants to listen to you and to help you. The priest is there to forgive your sins that way that Jesus would have him do. Everything you tell the priest is always kept secret. The only ones who know what is said in the confessional are you, the priest and God. Nobody else will ever know.

5. Be willing to do the penance the priest gives you.
It is always best to do your penance the priest assigns you right away as soon as you leave the confessional. Whatever the priest asks of you, remember how small it is compared to the suffering and death of Jesus on the cross when He died for our sins. We should be very happy that we have the opportunity to have our sins forgiven.

Confession Guide

Kneel down in the confessional.
Wait to hear the priest slide open the little door inside.

Make the ‘Sign of the Cross’ with him.
Say, “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned.
It has been _____ weeks since my last confession.
My greatest sin is __________. (Tell your greatest sin first.)

Begin to confess your sins.
Before going into the confessional you should have made a good and thorough examination of conscience so you should be able to talk openly and easily to the priest.

At the end of your confession you will say,
“I am sorry for these and all my sins.”

When you have finished confessing your sins the priest may talk to you a little bit about how you can avoid these sins in the future. He may ask you some questions meant to help you remember any sins you may have forgotten to confess.

Remember the priest is acting on behalf of our all-loving and all-forgiving Father in heaven. You can feel good talking to him.

The priest will then give you absolution. He will say a prayer to have your sins forgiven. At this time you should then recite the “Act of Contrition.”

The priest will assign some penance.

You will say, “Thank you, Father.”

Then leave the confessional and return to your seat to do your penance.

Examination of Conscience for Children
Examination for Elementary School Children