I've been doing a bit of traveling recently. I was visiting a parish and the deacon gave a lovely homily on the importance of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. He urged those present to often avail themselves of the grace of this sacrament. Yet looking at the schedule in the bulletin, it was clear this sentiment was not part of the parish ethos. Confessions are heard for thirty minutes on Saturday afternoons.
I know that the pastor of this parish probably thinks that is all he needs to do since the lines on Saturday are not very long. No one is being turned away. However, confession is very much like the movie Field of Dreams. Open it up and they will come. My own parish began scheduling daily confessions about four years ago. Confession is offered twice daily on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Instead of the lines getting shorter since there are so many times for the penitent to confess, the lines are getting longer and longer.
The Diocese of Arlington and the Archdiocese of Washington have joined in an effort to promote the Sacrament of Reconciliation during Lent. Every parish in each of these diocese will be open for confession from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday evenings. You can read more about this endeavor here.
At the beginning of this Year for Priests, Pope Benedict XVI exhorted priests to be generous with their time in the confessional. He held up for them St. John Vianney, patron of parish priests, who anchored his pastoral care with endless hours spent hearing the confessions of his flock. Let us offer our prayers for our priests that they will follow the model of St. John Vianney and the direction of Pope Benedict XVI and be generous with their time in the confessional. Keep the confessional light on and the penitent will come.
KITCHEN TABLE CHATS
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I have worn many labels (Not in any particular order): Catholic, Wife, Mom,Gramma, Doctor, Major, Soccer Mom, Military Wife, Professor, Fellow.
All of these filter my views of the world. I hope that like St. Monica, I can through prayer, words and example, lead my children and others to Faith.