The Sacrament of Penance may be celebrated in a manner that assures proper physical distancing while safeguarding the privacy of the penitents.
Confessions from behind a screen: the required distance needs to be maintained between the penitent and confessor and the confessional screens should be sanitized after each use. Due to the small space of some confessionals, it may be necessary to set up a separate reconciliation room to ensure the required distance between the penitent and confessor. The screen should still be sanitized after each use unless there is a distance kept between the penitent and the screen as well.
Face-to-face confessions: these are permitted as long as the required distance is maintained between the penitent and the confessor.
There should be no physical contact between the penitent and the confessor.
Public penitential services are prohibited. Confessions should be made more readily available and much more frequently.
First Reconciliation – The celebration of the Sacrament of Penance must take place in a well-ventilated area. Every family should be seated and separated from other families at least 6 feet away from each other while waiting for their turn. At this time, we ask that we limit the people in the area 10 people at a time. The Confessor is not to be counted as one of the 10.
Celebrating the Sacrament
HOW TO GO TO RECONCILIATION
As you prepare yourself for confession, do an Examination of Conscience, and reflect on your sins. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to guide you to make a good confession.
Begin by making the sign of the cross and saying, “Bless me Father for I have sinned. It has been _____ (weeks, months, years) since my last confession."
Then you will tell the priest the sins that you have committed since your last confession and the number of times you committed it.
You do not have to go into any explicit detail like dates and times or in what way. Make sure you do say the act of sin IE "for being lustful by looking at porn on five occasions." When we include the action and number it helps father to understand the potential root of the sin. The guidance and advice he would give us is now more tailored to understanding the ways the sin impacts our lives and affects us. If you feel it is necessary you can tell him the circumstances.
When you are finished, you will tell the priest, "For all my sins I am truly sorry." or "those are all the sins I remember"
The priest will briefly discuss your sins and will offer advice and encouragement on leading a better Christian life.
He will give you a penance to perform (usually a prayer or good deed)
The priest may ask you to say the Act of Contrition, expressing your sorrow for your sins.
Finally, the priest , acting in the person of Christ, will absolve you of your sins through the Prayer of Absolution.
At the end of his absolution he will say, “I absolve you of your sins in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. ”
Make the sign of the cross and respond "Amen".
He will then dismiss you by saying some variation of “Go in peace. ” Reply, “Thanks be to God”.
As soon as possible, complete your penance and rejoice in the fact that your sins have been forgiven by the blood of Jesus Christ.