From the Pastor:
Last week was a great blessing for our parishes! The timing was nearly perfect for having Bishop Thomas and Fr. Hayes with us, leading us in prayer and sharing their spiritual insights. This is because it coincided with the midpoint of Lent, which is the time many people struggle with their Lenten prayer and penance. Some people have the best of intentions for Lent but struggle after the first few days. This past week helped to motivate and inspire not just those people, but all who attended.
Besides the spiritual talks, I was especially grateful for the singers and musicians from all three parishes working together as a single group. Their singing Sunday afternoon was as good as any church or cathedral that I have experienced! Their working together was as beautiful for me as their singing. Jesus prayed that we all might be one and I saw that in the choir loft and in the pews, which were nearly full! We priests heard many confessions, and that too was a great blessing!
The Sacrament of Reconciliation is one of the most important sacraments that Jesus gave us. That is the first sacrament Jesus gave to the Apostles after His resurrection from the dead. Jesus began the work of reconciling us to one another and to the Father, and then directs the apostles to continue doing that through the confessional. We priests are joyful for every person who comes to this important sacrament. We are eager to do the work of God in forgiving their sins, assisting them spiritually, and providing the grace they need to overcome their faults and weaknesses.
To help with your preparation for going to Confession, you will find included within this bulletin a list of self-reflective questions. These questions are meant to help each person know their sins, or said differently, to know the ways we do not love God and neighbor as we should. The questions help us to know what we need to bring to the Sacrament of Confession. Like any good coach, they point out to each of us, for our own good, where spiritual growth and maturity is needed.
Pope Francis encourages us to visit the confessional so that we are better equipped for “hand-to-hand combat” with Satan. Pope Francis said that we need to “teach our children, our youngsters to make a good confession, because going to Confession is not like going to the dry cleaners to get a stain removed. No! It’s about going to meet with our Father who pardons us, who forgives us, and who rejoices.”
What Pope Francis is saying here is that when going to Confession, we should not just be “going through the motions.” Instead, the Sacrament of Confession should involve our heart and soul because it is a personal encounter with Christ. Remember that we priests offer the sacrament before almost every Mass. In addition, in two weeks 5-6 priests will be at St. Peter church on Palm Sunday at 3:00pm for a Penance Service. Hopefully you will plan to attend if you haven’t already received the sacrament this Lent.
In HIS mercy,