Our new confessional or reconciliation room is finally complete! I think you will agree that it is handsomely crafted and fits in well with the rest of our beautiful church. It is a gift from Joe and Ida Mascari, our long time faithful parishioners. We cannot thank them enough for their generosity.
(Speaking of generosityóin response to my recent invitation, someone has come forward to give us the $1,000.00 necessary to renovate our "auxiliary sacristy." This will give us more storage space for sacred vestments and vessels as well as a place to prepare for Mass. Once I get the donorís permission, I hope to thank them publicly.) Wonderful Stewardship!
Back to the confessional. As you can see, the space we had to work with was limited. On the advice of the parish council, we did not want to remove any more pews or cover up too much of the stained glass window. The reconciliation room, however, does provide for either face to face confession or the traditional mode of anonymous confession behind the screen or grille.
We will bless and dedicate this new addition to our church this Saturday (August 21) during the 4:30 p.m. Mass. Beginning this weekend, we will have an opportunity for confession at least one half hour before every Mass. The green light means the priest is available, come in. The red light means someone is already with the priest, please wait.
It is unfortunate that the frequency with which some people approach the Sacrament of Penance has lessened in recent years. That was never the intention of the Church. On the other hand, I am not certain that we (priests) have done a good job in emphasizing this wonderful Sacrament of Godís love and forgiveness.
In the coming weeks I intend to say something about this in this bulletin and from the pulpit. There are lots of mistaken ideas floating around these days. One of the most dangerous is that we no longer need to go to confession!
The Catechism of the Catholic Church retains the traditional distinction between mortal and venial sin. As we have always said, mortal sin results in no longer "living in the state of grace." (CCC #1861) The Catechism goes on to reaffirm the teaching of the Council of Trent: Confession to a priest is an essential part of the Sacrament of Penance. All mortal sins must be confessed in confession. (CCC #1456)
The Catechism goes on to affirm that we are bound to confess serious sins at least once a year. Anyone who is aware of having committed a mortal sin must not receive Holy Communion, even if he experiences deep contrition, without having first received sacramental absolution, unless he has a grave reason for receiving Communion and there is no possibility of going to confession.(CCC #1457)
Iím afraid people may like to play games with the last part of that quote from the Catechism. Around here, I canít imagine what the "grave" reason for having to receive Holy Communion would be. And the possibility of going to confession is readily available here and many other places.
Then the Catechism goes on to reaffirm what Trent said about venial sins. Without being strictly necessary, it is strongly recommended that we confess those faults as well. We all know how "little things" can grow one day in to "bigger things" before we know it. More about confession next week.
Last Sunday, an eighteen-page document was placed on cars in our parking lot during the 10:00 a.m. Mass. Itís entitled: "A Response to Monsignor Schaedelís Letter from The Knights of the Sovereign Order of Saint John of Jerusalem at Saint Josephís Catholic Chapel (Greenwood)."
Those who signed the document are offended by a statement I made in our parish bulletin in June. I referred to the so-called Saint Joseph Priory in Greenwood as a schismatic group. (Schism is the refusal of submission to the Pope or of communion with the members of the Church subject to the pope.) The document also takes exception to several other statements I made in that same letter, many being statements from Pope John Paul II at a recent audience in Rome (October 26, 1998).
This response from the group in Greenwood is meant to inform us that they are not a schismatic group; they are not in error. But just about everybody else is, including the Holy Father, the archbishop and the rest of the hierarchy, over one billion members of the Roman Catholic Church, and me.
One last thing: We have many beautiful weddings at Holy Rosary. None would happen so smoothly without the assistance of our wedding coordinators, Billy and Alice DeLaCruz. Billy is recovering nicely from recent knee surgery. We welcome him back! And so do those brides and grooms. God love you both! You are one more example of Stewardship in action at Holy Rosary.
In Godís Providence,