Reception of the penitent

When the penitent comes to confess his sins, the priest welcomes him warmly and greets him with kindness. Then the penitent makes the sign of the cross which the priest may make also.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

The priest invites the penitent to have trust in God, in these or similar words:

May God, who has enlightened every heart, help you to know your sins and trust in his mercy.

The penitent answers: Amen.

(Other forms of reception of the penitent may be chosen from the ritual book.)


Reading the Word of God (Optional)

Then the priest may read or say from memory a text of Scripture which proclaims God’s mercy and calls man to conversion. A reading may also be chosen from the ritual book.

Confession of sins and acceptance of satisfaction

Where it is the custom, the penitent says a general formula for Confession (for example, I confess to almighty God) before he confesses his sins. If necessary, the priest helps the penitent to make an integral confession and gives him suitable counsel. He urges him to be sorry for his faults, reminding him that through the sacrament of penance the Christian dies and rises with Christ and is thus renewed in the paschal mystery. The priest proposes an act of penance which the penitent accepts to make satisfaction for sin and to amend his life. The priest should make sure that he adapts his counsel to the penitent’s circumstances.

Prayer of the penitent and absolution

The priest then asks the penitent to express his sorrow, which the penitent may do in these or similar words:

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.


Lord Jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

(Other prayers of the penitent may be chosen from the ritual book.)

Then the priest extends his hands over the penitent’s head (or at least extends his right hand) and says:

God, the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins; through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, + and of the Holy Spirit.

The penitent answers: Amen.

Proclamation of praise of God and dismissal

After the absolution, the priest continues:

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good.

The penitent concludes: His mercy endures forever.

Then the priest dismisses the penitent who has been reconciled, saying:

The Lord has freed you from your sins. Go in peace.


May the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of all the saints, whatever good you do and suffering you endure, heal your sins, help you to grow in holiness, and reward you with eternal life. Go in peace.