Confession Penance

Document Title
Confession Penance question
Question from on 06-11-2007:
Hi-I went to confession last two Saturdays ago to confess and was given penance to pray one decade (ten Hail Marys' and One Glory Be's) on a rosary. I am an air force reservist on active duty orders and a divorced, single mother of three kids so with my busy schedule, I didn't complete the penance until either Tues or Wed(3 or 4 days later). I also prayed without using the rosary. Is this valid? When I went to mass this past Saturday, I again prayed the ten Hail Marys and one Glory Be and also prayed Our Father to try to once again cover all the bases, so to speak. Thanks for taking my question on this-I've written to two other forums and one told me to go to the morale, the morale told me to go to the general question, so I hope that you can help me in this-I just wanted to know that I didn't go about it wrong. Thanks-sincerely, laura
Answer by David Gregson on 07-02-2007:
There is no real time limit on when you must do the penance assigned in the confessional, but it is always best to do it as soon as possible, since you may forget. It's not necessary to have a rosary in hand, in order to say the Rosary. The Rosary is the prayers and meditations that go to make it up. Rosary beads are helpful for counting the prayers, but not essential. The Rosary can be said on your fingers.

If your confessor assigned a decade of the Rosary, presumably he meant you to say an Our Father before the ten Hail Mary's and one Glory Be. If you've done that, you've completed your assigned penance. In fact, your sins were forgiven at the moment the priest gave you absolution, provided you were really sorry and fully intended to say your penance.

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