Some years ago, after I sat in a parish confessional for two Saturday afternoons in a row waiting in vain for a penitent to show up, I brought up the matter with a few parishioners. “Why don’t people make use of the Sacrament of Reconciliation more often?” I wanted to know.
A younger parishioner spoke up saying, “I don’t really don’t know how to go to confession. I’m not sure what to say or do when I get in there.” It dawned on me that a user-friendly guide for taking part in this sacrament of mercy could help ease the way.
“Not many people are there on Saturday afternoon” said another, “it makes me feel like I’m the only sinner on the planet.”
Still others told me that they sometimes went to confession downtown or in a neighboring parish. They preferred anonymity, as is their right. Another admitted, “I just got out of the habit of going.”
There are lots of reasons why people no longer make use of the Sacrament of Reconciliation as frequently as they used to. But none of those reasons stand up to the overwhelming love and mercy we can experience in this sacrament, which is the extension of Jesus’ power to forgive our sins, the sins that bring us so much unhappiness.
As in the past, the priests of the Archdiocese of Baltimore have generously agreed to make the Sacrament of Reconciliation readily available during Lent. On Wednesday’s of Lent, from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in all the churches of the Archdiocese, the Sacrament of Reconciliation will be available. You can find an on-line guide for participating in this sacrament and printed copies are also available in parishes. You can go to your parish church or any parish in the Archdiocese. Wherever you go, the light will be on for you, the light of God’s mercy and love. I hope and pray that many will make take part in the Sacrament of Reconciliation this Lent.