Last year, when all the parishes in the diocese were instructed to have listening sessions for the upcoming Synod on Synodality in Rome, one of the things that came out of those listening sessions was a desire for more resources on the Sacrament of Confession. With that in mind, I have some news to share with you about the Sacrament of Confession here at Our Lady.
First, as I mentioned at the Masses last weekend, we are installing a new confessional in the former ushers’ closet in the southeast corner of the church. Our Lady Queen of Heaven Parish has been blessed over the years to have two priests assigned to it and yet we only have had one confessional. During the penitential seasons of Advent and Lent, when there are more frequent confessions, if both priests want to hear confessions, we need to “set up shop” in our office which is not the most convenient place for either the priest or penitent. Now, with an overflow confessional, we will be able to quickly have access when there are a number of confessions. This smaller confessional will be “behind the screen” only (due to space limitations). A chair will be provided as well as a hearing assistance telephone for the hard-of-hearing. I am excited to have this confessional available around the time of Lent. I want to thank Deacon Tom, Andy Kaminski, and the Mens’ Club for their help in building the new confessional.
Secondly, since the listening sessions requested more resources on confessions, I am planning on having one of the literature racks in the Gathering Space be entirely on the Sacrament of Confession. Various aids and pamphlets will be available to help you make a good and worthy confession. In addition, Father Weller and I will be giving at least one homily specifically devoted to confession this Lent. May it help you prepare and make a good confession.
Third and finally, on Ash Wednesday, February 22, 2023, the words of absolution used by the priest in confession are slightly changing. Just as the Roman Missal translation was updated over a decade ago, the Order of Penance has been retranslated as well. The changes are minimal and even if a priest forgets to use the new formula after April 16 (the last day the old version can be used), the absolution is still valid. There will be a bulletin insert next week explaining the changes in more detail. As always, if you have any questions, feel free to contact me.
A priest I knew growing up told me that you can always judge the health of a parish by how many people go to confession. Our parish seems to be in a healthy place considering we are needing to build a new confessional. If it’s been a while since you’ve gone, now is a great time. Behold, now is the acceptable time; behold, now is the day of salvation (2 Corinthians 6:2).