I’m 49 and haven’t been to confession since I was about 9 I say prayers every day and pop into church now and then to light candles the thing is I’ve not been to well recently and would like to make a confession but not to sure what to say could you please help
“Bless me Father, for I have sinned. It’s been about 40 years since my last confession. I think I’m going to need some help from you for this confession.”
It would probably be best to make an appointment for this confession, since it might take some time. Father can help you out through the mechanics of the sacrament.
It would be helpful to make a good examination of conscience beforehand. Sit down, grab a pen and paper (just remember to keep anything your write secret, and burn it or destroy it some other way once you’ve made your confession). Organize your sins in, say, chronological order if you want, taking each decade and thinking back on what you’ve done.
While everyone should confess all mortal sins in kind and number, when we’re talking of a confession covering 40 years, it’s okay if the numbers aren’t exact (e.g. “I missed Mass a lot when I was in my twenties, Father. There were a couple years there when I only went on Easter and Christmas, and at my best during that time, I probably only went ten-twelve times a year.” Still, try and be as thorough as possible.
Don’t gloss over sins.
Don’t try and make yourself look better so that the priest won’t think ill of you (the priest will already think you are a hero for coming to the sacrament).
Don’t meander and tell stories. That time you got rollicking drunk with your buddy and sole the enemy school’s goat mascot might be a hilarious anecdote, but this is not the time. Stick to the sins: getting intoxicated, stealing, leading someone else into sin.
In the end, just do it.
At the end, say, “for these and all of the sins of my past which I cannot now remember, I am sorry and I beg the Lord’s forgiveness.”
And mean it.
You’ll be okay.