People are often very intimidated about confessing their sins to another person, especially a priest. However, that is exactly the point: Jesus, through the priest, is personally present in the sacrament. The same Jesus who forgave sins in Palestine 2,000 years ago is the same Jesus who waits to speak with you in the confessional. All you will find in the confessional, then, is the radical love and forgiveness of a Father who wants you to be reconciled with both God and neighbor.
In reconciliation, you come before a priest to express regret for your sins and resolve to resist them in the future. After you name your sins, the priest will say, “I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
You must still make amends for those sins by completing the penance given to you by the priest, but you can walk away with confidence knowing that Jesus, acting through his priest, has definitively and absolutely embraced you with his mercy and redeeming love. Your sins are truly forgiven.
Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.