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In this week’s bulletin you will find an insert detailing a graphic from the DMI (Disciple Maker Index survey) on the sacrament of confession. Out of the some ninety parishes throughout the U.S. that took the DMI, Blessed Sacrament had the second highest percentage of parishioners that receive the sacrament of confession.  The survey item was “In the past year, frequency of participation in . . . The Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession).”

Obviously, commitment to receiving the sacrament of confession is a strength of the parish. Fr. Curtis has mentioned several times about how impressed he is that so many people go to confession at Blessed Sacrament. Th is is not a strength to take for granted. When I studied Canon Law in Washington D.C. from 2007-2010, I lived at a parish where I helped out on the weekends.  The parish had an hour for confessions every Saturday afternoon and I would take a rotation once a month. It was a rare occasion to hear more than two people’s confession during that hour. A number of times no one came to receive the sacrament.

I mention and highlight this parish strength because frequent use of the sacrament of confession was a staple of the saints. I can not think of a saint who did not receive the sacrament with frequency. Pope Francis also receives the sacrament regularly. In November of 2013, Pope Francis stated at a public audience “Priests, too, need confession, even bishops. We are all sinners. Even the pope goes to confession every two weeks because the pope, too, is a sinner.”

O.k., so it is a strength. However, there is room for improvement. Nearly 20 percent of the parish never receives the sacrament and 36 percent of the parish only goes once or twice a year.  There is room for growth.  The good news of reconciling with God and one another through the sacrament of confession is vital to a healthy interior life. It is only God who can restore the woundedness in the depths of our being.

Pope Francis calls Confession the Sacrament of the New Evangelization. If the New Evangelization is about encountering Christ anew then it would be hard to think of a way to encounter Jesus more intimately than through this merciful sacrament. I experience a deep relief and sense of strength in my soul each time I go to confession.

Please know that Fr. Curtis and I are always available to celebrate the sacrament. We offer confessions Monday through Friday from 7:30 am – 7:50 am and on Saturday’s from 3:30 – 5 pm. We also offer three penance services during the year; one during Advent, one during Lent and one at the end of the summer.

The End of the Summer penance service will be on August 25th at 7 pm. Six priests will available to hear confessions, including, the fi ve newly ordained priests and myself. “ The faithful have the right to find in their priests a servant of God’s forgiveness” (Pope Francis).

Ad majorem Dei gloriam,

Fr. John F. Jirak

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