This took place many years ago when I was about thirteen and in the eighth grade of a parochial school. Every month on the Thursday before the first Friday of the month we were led by the nun to the church, where we lined up to go one by one to the confessional where the parish priest heard our confessions. The reason for this was that the entire class received Communion together at Mass on the morning of every first Friday, so it was necessary to have Confession the day before.
Well it was almost always the same priest and he was pretty consistent with his penance. For example, missing Mass on Sunday got you a penance of having to recite ten Hail Mary's. You did this by going to the alter step right after you exited the Confessional and saying them silently on your knees. I soon learned that for 'self-pollution' you had to go to the statue of St. Vincent which was in a back alcove of the sanctuary, and say the Lord's Prayer silently forty times (no, I have no idea why St. Vincent.) Anyway you always knew that all the boys praying at the St. Vincent statue were wankers. There were not very many there so I believe most of the boys never took all this confession business very seriously; but at that age I did at times.
It was of course very humiliating for me to be seen praying there as all the boys knew why. Well as it happened, one day I had an experience with a cousin who had stayed with us for a visit and shared my bed. It was just some wrestling in our underpants that wound up with our groping each other. The next month, I screwed up all my courage and confessed it. My penance was of course more severe than prayers before St. Vincent. I had to attend morning Mass at 6:00AM every weekday for two weeks! This was dreadful but I did it. These morning weekday Masses are very sparsely attended, usually by maybe half a dozen old ladies. About the third day of my penance, two other boys started attending the Mass. I knew them very well. They were good friends of each other and were always seen hanging around together. They did not sit near each other during the Mass but it didn't take me long to figure out why they were there.
Let me add that I was by this time getting pretty sceptical of all of these religious practices, and looking forward to going to a public high school to get away from all this. The next morning I sat next to one of them and asked why he wasn't sitting with his friend. He was very uncomfortable and had not connected the dots as to why I was there. Anyway, after Mass I spoke to the one, and told him I thought I knew why they were there and I was there for the same reason. I let it go at that, but tried to hang out with them in the playground during recess and lunch. I guess you know where all this leads. What follows was much like many of the other stories here. For the remainder of that year and for the next few years in High School the three of us and a few others who later joined our 'circle' had a lot of fun together. None of us had much trouble dumping all that guilt stuff once we moved on to High School.