Friday, May 20, 2005

Confession Schedule

OK, I need to vent a bit, and well, I am partial owner of this blog, so I get to do that. I have mentioned it previously, that here at St. James, we offer the sacrament of Reconciliation frequently -- like, everyday except for Sunday. We hear Confessions Monday through Friday after our 8am Mass, and Saturdays from 11:30am to Noon (2 priests), 4pm to 5pm (2 priests), and after our 7:30pm Vigil Mass.

Now I am NOT venting about us offering the sacrament too much. OK, there are times when I might grumble a little when I have to head over to hear Confessions, but that is my failing (usually it is because I am behind in some other project). However, once I get in the confessional (it is a box; while we offer face to face, I estimate 95% go behind the grill) I am awe struck by the grace of God working through me; all grumbling is forgotten. Only celebrating the Eucharist makes me feel as complete as a priest.

What I am venting about is the flack I get from other priests about our confession schedule. They all seem to think we are nuts. I can't tell you how often I have heard, "Boy, you must have a lot more sinners there." This week I got together with my classmates from the seminary, and one of them just really went on and on about how we were just fostering scrupples. I tried to tell him that most of our folks coming to confession are coming maybe once a month, but that our people (not to mention that we get a lot of folks from other parishes because their parishes do not offer the sacrament except "by appointment") really value the mercy of God. They probably are no bigger sinners than parishioners anywhere else, but they have a sense of sin, and more importantly a sense of God's mercy. I also pointed out that the sacrament, while principally is for the forgiveness of sins, it also provides the grace needed to grow in holiness.

There...I vented. I think it is a GOOD thing that we offer the sacrament as much as we do. I trust the other priests here that, like me, if someone is struggling with scrupples, they address it in a pastoral manner. However, mostly we are just trying to help people grow in virtue.

No comments: