No one wants to have a sore spot touched, and therefore a society with so many sores twitches when someone has the courage to touch it and say:
“You have to treat that.
You have to get rid of that. Believe in Christ. Be converted.”
- Blessed Oscar Romero
From the USCCB:
The Sacrament of Penance is an experience of the gift of God's boundless mercy. Not only does it free us from our sins but it also challenges us to have the same kind of compassion and forgiveness for those who sin against us. We are liberated to be forgivers. We obtain new insight into the words of the Prayer of St. Francis: "It is in pardoning that we are pardoned."
Penance is an experience of the gift of God's boundless mercy
Jesus entrusted the ministry of reconciliation to the Church. The Sacrament of Penance is God's gift to us so that any sin committed after Baptism can be forgiven. In confession we have the opportunity to repent and recover the grace of friendship with God. It is a holy moment in which we place ourselves in his presence and honestly acknowledge our sins, especially mortal sins. With absolution, we are reconciled to God and the Church. The Sacrament helps us stay close to the truth that we cannot live without God. "In him we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28).
While all the Sacraments bring us an experience of the mercy that comes from Christ's dying and rising, it is the Sacrament of Reconciliation that is the unique Sacrament of mercy.
Additional resources from the USCCB HERE
Resources from Catholics Come Home HERE
Maybe it's been a while since you last went to Confession, or you're needing some guidance as you help your children learn about the sacrament. Here's what you can usually expect in the confessional:
The Sacrament may be face-to-face or anonymous, with a screen between you and the priest. Choose the option that is the most comfortable for you.
• The priest will greet you with a blessing
• Make the sign of the cross
• You may begin with “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. My last confession was [give the number of weeks, months, or years] ago,” or a similar greeting.
• Confess all of your sins. (If you are unsure or uneasy, ask him for help.)
• The priest may offer advice to help you fulfill your Christian identity.
• The priest will assign a penance to help you get on track
• Pray an act of contrition, expressing your sorrow for your sins (see example below).
• The priest, acting in the person of Christ, will then absolve you from your sins.
• Depart and privately complete your penance in a timely way.
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 should 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. Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. In his name, my God, have mercy.
O God, I am sorry for my sins. Sometimes I have chosen to do wrong and have failed to do good. Have mercy on me. Help me to change my ways and grow in your love. Amen
Children's Examination of Conscience (English)
Children's Examination of Conscience (Spanish)
Examination of Conscience for Couples (English)
Examination of Conscience for Couples (Spanish)