Penitential Prayers 

Normally at this time of year the parish would be organising a penitential service and extra times for confession so that as many people as possible could receive the sacrament of reconciliation.  


This year most of us will be unable to receive confession until after the lockdown restrictions are lifted.  So instead we are encouraged to bring our sins to God and to ask for his mercy and forgiveness.  God never turns away a humble and contrite heart.


Fr Damian will lead us through this act of penance on Spy Wednesday evening at 7pm through Facebook.  But we can say these prayers ourselves at any time.


Later we will have the chance to go to confession, receive absolution and do our penance, but for now this act of penance will reassure us that our merciful God forgives us our sins.


An Act of Penance

Lent 2020



Opening Prayer



hear the prayers of those who call on you,

forgive the sins of those who confess to you,

and in your merciful love

give us your pardon and your peace.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.  





A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew (16:24-26)


“Jesus said his disciples, 'If anyone wants to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself and take up his cross and follow me.  Anyone who wants to save his life will lose it; but anyone who loses his life for my sake will save it.  What, then, will anyone gain by winning the whole world and forfeiting his life?  Or what can anyone offer in exchange for his life?


The Gospel of the Lord.



Examination of Conscience  


This reflection is based on extracts from the Passion according to Saint Matthew.


“The elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and made plans to arrest Jesus by some trick and have him put to death.”  (Matthew 26:3-4)


Have I spoken falsely of another?

Have I set out to destroy the character of another?

Have I twisted the truth to suit myself?


“Then one of the twelve,  the man called Judas Iscariot, went the chief priests and said, "What are you prepared to give me if I hand him over to you?"  They paid him thirty silver pieces.”  (Matthew 26:14-15)


Have I compromised myself for material gain?

Have I neglected love for ambition?

Have I allowed the circumstances of life make me bitter?


“Then Jesus came with them to a plot of land called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, 'Stay here while I go over there to pray.......He came back to the disciples and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, 'So you had not the strength to stay awake with me for one hour?'"  (Matthew 26: 36; 40)


Have I prayed frequently and fervently or only when in difficulty?

Have I persevered in prayer?

Have I neglected to worship with God's people on a Sunday?


“Peter started cursing and swearing, 'I do not know the man.'  And at once the cock crowed.  Peter remembered what Jesus had said, 'Before the cock crows  you will have disowned me three times.'”  (Matthew 26: 74-75)


Have I denied my faith in Jesus by my actions, or by my silence?

Have I neglected to defend the good name of another?

Have I betrayed those who trust me most?



“Pilate said to them, 'What am I to do with Jesus who is called the Christ?'  They all said, 'Let him be crucified!'........So Pilate took some water, washed his hands in front of the crowd and said, 'I am innocent of this man's blood......he handed him over to be crucified”  (Matthew 27:22; 24; 26)


Have I shirked responsibility for my actions?

Have I been lazy, or neglectful of my responsibilities?

Have I turned a blind eye to that which is wrong?


“The soldiers took Jesus with them into the Praetorium....they stripped him....twisted some thorns into a crown.....made fun of him.....they spat on him.”  (Matthew 27: 27-30)


Have I been violent in word or action?

Have I made little of others, put others down, been cynical or sarcastic?

Have I abused my own dignity or that of others by giving in to sins of gluttony or lust?


"On the way out, they came across a man from Cyrene, called Simon, and enlisted him to carry his cross"  (Matthew27:32)


Have I been indifferent to the sufferings of others?

Have I lacked compassion for those who asked for my help?

Have I been bitter or resentful because of the cross I must carry?



General Confession of sins

I confess to almighty God

and to you, my brothers and sisters,

that I have greatly sinned,

in my thoughts and in my words,

in what I have done and in what I have failed to do, 

through my fault, through my fault,

through my most grievous fault;

therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin,

all the Angels and Saints,

and you, my brothers and sisters,

to pray for me to the Lord our God.



Act of Perfect Contrition


O my God,
I am heartily sorry for having offended Thee,
and I detest all my sins,
because I dread the loss of heaven, and the pains of hell;
but most of all because they offend Thee, my God,
Who are all good and deserving of all my love.
I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace,
to confess my sins, to do penance,
and to amend my life.




Proclamation of praise


My soul glorifies the Lord,

my spirit rejoices in God, my Saviour.

He looks on his servant in her nothingness;

henceforth all ages will call me blessed.   


The Almighty works marvels for me.

Holy his name!

His mercy is from age to age,

on those who fear him.   


He puts forth his arm in strength

and scatters the proud hearted.

He casts the mighty from their thrones

and raises the lowly.   


He fills the starving with good things,

sends the rich away empty.    


He protects Israel, his servant,

remembering his mercy,

the mercy promised to our fathers,

to Abraham and his children forever.   


Concluding Prayer 


God and Father of us all,

you have forgiven our sins and sent us your peace.

Help us to forgive each other

and to work together to build your peace in our society.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.



Final Blessing