Saturday, March 31, 2007


For many parishes out there, today will be the last day before the Great Easter Vigil on which you can go to confession. If you would like an aid to help prepare you, here and here are a couple of decent Examinations of Conscience. Be bold!

A few times it has been mentioned that many of you prefer relevant penances, (in other words, three Hail Marys do not cut it). I have a limited bag of focused penances that I do give out from time to time and I am always amazed at how joyful people are to receive them. If you are comfortable with it, I would appreciate hearing what you find meaningful in a penance. Don’t break the seal of confession though, be very general – and if you are more comfortable, Email your response to me.

There was an interesting occurrence at the rectory yesterday – A lady came to the door and requested to speak to a priest. Invited into my office she took a seat and announced that she was Anglican, had always been Anglican, and until recently, was very proud of the fact. But she could no longer abide with the direction in which the Anglican Church was going and found that her only recourse was to become Catholic.

We discussed theology for a while and as it turns out, she was raised High Anglican which considers itself a third branch of the Catholic Church and her grasp of Catholic teaching was more orthodox and in depth than most Catholics.

“I though I would be safe in my own little parish,” she said, “But things are even starting to happen there. This is very disturbing. I am being abandoned and I see now that my only choice is to become Catholic. I am fully comfortable with ready to declare my full allegiance to the Catholic Church.”

“This is so sad. But Father, there are a lot of us out there. Expect to hear from more.”

Please keep them in your prayers.

Holy Week must be upon us. Expect to see a lot of mud in the PD about the Church. Another article today. (Once again, funny how these articles multiply during holy times.) sigh

Final note: I won't be able to respond as well as I would like to you over the next two weeks as parish duties will take precedence. Happy Holy Week!


Rob said...

-there are a lot of us out there. Expect to hear from more.-

Indeed. I am sure you heard about that retired Episcopalian bishop who swam the Tiber last week. That is a pretty big deal. (Come to think of it, I wonder what the Church will do with him? Will he be ordained and function as a priest, or will he simply come over as a lay convert?)

God bless you for your work in these coming weeks, father. Every week, on the day we rest, you work in persona Christi all day long. Know that we love our priests.

Anonymous said...

There is an episode of the PowerPuff Girls where the girls' dad has to go to a parent/teacher conference. The meeting begins with the teacher smiling tranquilly while scribbling on a notepad (presumably something problematic about his girls). More silence, more scribbling...more silence, more scribbling, until finally the dad screams with fear!

That's the feeling I get in a confessional when the priest gives me a silent smile as I confess. The silent smile is good, but please give me some meaningful input at the end, or in between if necessary. Was what I confessed even a sin? How serious? Advise me specifically how to avoid the near occasion of a recurring sin. Am I describing my sins adequately or with an unnecessary amount of embarrassing detail? Tell me to come back regularly. Say something bold that I can sink my teeth into! Dare you even use the word "mortal"! Recommend a book or website. Pass out an examination of conscience on a card if the penitent doesn't seem to have a good grasp of sin.

That last point is the crux of the matter: we don't know what sin is!!! I had a hard time figuring it out myself. I read recently some saint saying that a priest has the responsibility set his congregation straight if they are living immoral lives, even if he is going to be lynched when he leaves the pulpit. If we looked only at the sins of contraception, extramarital sex, abuse of drugs and alcohol, or even missing Mass on Sunday, we are looking at over 90% of Catholics making sacrilegious communions.