Children’s Guide to Confession

Confession can be a liberating moment for children, in which they leave their sins behind and embrace Jesus. Here is an easy-to-follow guide for kids in confession.

As Pope Francis said, “Do not be afraid of Confession!”

1: First, pray to the Holy Spirit to help you, then examine your conscience (see below). Plan what sins you will tell the priest.

2: After the priest greets you, make the Sign of the Cross.

Say: “Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been (state how long) since my last confession. These are my sins.”

3: Tell your sins simply and honestly to Jesus, who acts through the priest. Feel free to tell why you did what you did if you need to!

4: Listen to the advice the priest gives you and remember the penance he tells you to do.

Say: The Act of Contrition (below).

6: The priest will then dismiss you.

Sometimes, priests say: “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good,” or, “The Lord has freed you from your sins. Go in peace.”

Say: “Thanks be to God.”

6: Do your penance in the chapel right away if you can! Then thank God for his mercy.

Children’s Examination of Conscience

From a St. Louis priest

Did I pay attention at Mass?
Have I messed around in church?
Did I say my prayers every day?
Did I say mean things to my mom or dad or siblings?
Did I always say “Thank You” to people?
Am I hard to get along with (during school, at Grandma’s, at home)?
Did I do what my mom and dad told me to do? My teacher?
Was I lazy around the house?
Did I do my chores?
Did I hurt others people’s feelings by calling them bad names?
Have I started fights with my brothers and sisters at home?
Have I blamed other people for things I do?
Did I get other people into trouble?
Do I hit people when I get mad?
Have I forgiven people? Or am I holding a grudge?
Have I cheated or been unfair in games?
Did I refuse to play with someone for no good reason?
Was I was lazy about my schoolwork?
Did I fail to do my homework?
Did I cheat in school?
Have I lied to my parents? My teachers? My friends?
Did I take anything that didn’t belong to me?
Did I avoid medicine? Did I refuse to eat food I didn’t like?

REMEMBER: You can’t sin “by accident” and if someone did something bad to you, it is not your sin, but theirs — and you should tell an adult.

One option for an ACT OF CONTRITION

Oh 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. Amen.

This appeared at Aleteia.

Tom Hoopes

Tom Hoopes

Tom Hoopes, author of The Rosary of Saint John Paul II and The Fatima Family Handbook, is writer in residence at Benedictine College in Kansas and hosts The Extraordinary Story podcast about the life of Christ. His book What Pope Francis Really Said is now available on Audible. A former reporter in the Washington, D.C., area, Hoopes served as press secretary of the U.S. House Ways & Means Committee Chairman and spent 10 years as executive editor of the National Catholic Register newspaper and Faith & Family magazine. His work frequently appears in Catholic publications such as Aleteia.org and the Register. He and his wife, April, have nine children and live in Atchison, Kansas.