St. Joseph Catholic Church Tacoma

The Sacrament of Confession

Confessions are heard 30 minutes prior to each Mass and as needed after Mass. If you need to go to confession after Mass, please wait in the last pew or along the wall.

The Council of Trent tells us that for those who fall into sin after Baptism, the Sacrament of Penance is as necessary to salvation as is Baptism for those who have not been baptized already.

How to Make a Good Confession

Prior to Confession

  • Examine your conscience before Confession. A daily (nightly) examination of conscience will help us prepare for our regular examination for confession.
  • Be sorry for your sins, including the firm purpose to avoid these and all sins in the future, and to give up all occasions of sin. Without this, the priest cannot take your sins away.

REMEMBER: Thinking that you may fall again in the future does not negate your good intention here and now – the intention here and now to be done with the sin is sufficient for absolution.

If we are guilty of mortal sin, we may not go to Communion before we receive absolution in sacramental Confession. 

In the Confessional

  • Begin with “Bless me Father for I have sinned, it has been [time] since my last confession. I am [age, status (married with children, single, widow, etc.), sex], and these are my sins....”

REMEMBER: Begin by confessing your mortal sins by number and kind, and do not be afraid to ask for assistance from a priest if you are struggling with the confession process. As our priests are known to say, they are professionals, they do this for a living.

There is no need to share circumstances. If the priest needs to know them, he will ask for them.

While it is possible that a habit may mitigate the gravity of a sin, we cannot know in each case how this might apply. Therefore, we treat all objectively mortal sins as mortal sin.

  • End your confession with “For these and all the sins of my past life I am truly sorry,” or words to that effect (the priest should not have to ask you if that is all you have to confess).
  • Say an Act of Contrition when the priest asks you to recite it, thinking about the words you are saying, unless you have a question for Father about your confession, his advice or penance, or some other matter appropriately brought up in the confessional – this would be the time to ask it.
  • When the priest finishes giving you absolution, you may say “Thank you Father,” or some other suitable closing.

REMEMBER: You can go to Communion, after Confession, before you have done your penance, as long as you have the intention to do your penance. The sins are forgiven. The penance is not part of taking away the sins. The penance should be done at your earliest convenience, so as not to forget about it. The sins are taken away as soon as the priest says, "I absolve you (ego te absolvo)." 

Resources for Confession

Confession: It's About God Pouring Out His Love into the World

A Short Practicum on Confession

"Go to your confessor; open your heart to him; display to him all the recesses of your soul; take the advice that he will give you with the utmost humility and simplicity. For God, Who has an infinite love for obedience, frequently renders profitable the counsels we take from others, but especially from those who are the guides of our souls."

~ St. Francis de Sales ~

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