Saturday, October 09, 2004

Year of the Holy Eucharist: Pastoral ideas
We have had past posts regarding ideas to mark and celebrate this Year of the Holy Eucharist. Thanks for the many ideas. More frequent adoration of the Blessed Sacrament is an obvious idea, which I am hoping to institute in my parish (the push to get people to commit to it begins this weekend). I am also looking at adding many more confession times. Borrowing the Holy Father's use of Luke 24 (the story of the walk to Emmaus), it occurs to me that just as the disciples on that road had some obstacles to their ability to recognize Jesus, so do we. Our obstacles are, among many things, our sins. So, if our eyes are to be opened more fully at the breaking of the bread, which is Jesus' true Body and Blood, then we need those obstacles removed. Currently, my parish has two scheduled confession times per week: Wednesday evening for about 25 minutes (before an evening Mass) and Saturday afternoon for about 45 minutes. I am planning on expanding the Wednesday confessions to one hour, adding a Friday evening time (from 5:30 - 6:30 p.m.), and beginning to hear confessions during the weekend Masses (stopping just before the Consecration). Expanding Wednesday's schedule and adding a Friday time will already add an hour and a half to what we have now. Hearing confessions during the weekend Masses (when most of our people are here) will, I bet, give untold numbers an opportunity to go.

Fr. Tharp and I were discussing pastoral plans yesterday. He is doing something rather clever, something which I will probably borrow. I'll let him give the details so that he may bask in the glory or our corporate flattery! But as we spoke, another idea came to my mind -- a quite simple one. Since the Holy Father employs the Emmaus story in his new Apostolic Letter to mark this special year, entitled "Stay with us, Lord," a quote from that very gospel story, why not frequently use that phrase (Stay with us, Lord!) as a response to the general intercessions?! It might be a nice change of pace from the all-too-familiar, "Lord, hear our prayer." It seems to me it would be a simple and easy thing which would, at the very same time, point out that something is different about this year.

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