From our pastor, Father Neil Herlihy
 
During this season of Lent, in order to provide an additional opportunity for repentance, we will have a Penance Service at Saint Brigid this Monday at 7:00 pm.  At the Penance Service, we will have the opportunity to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  Through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we can cleanse ourselves spiritually as we approach Holy Week. As we know, the Sacrament is not intended to punish us but rather to get us closer to the Lord who loves us.

The Sacrament is here to heal, not to condemn.  Pope Francis often speaks about the need for the Sacrament and the need for the pardon, mercy and forgiveness that God extends to us.  He recently stated, “If we humbly implore God’s grace and accept our limitations, we will trust in the infinite possibilities which God’s love holds out for us.”  Archbishop Gregory has also emphasized the importance of the Sacrament.  He spoke about the concept of sin and the need for forgiveness through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  He said that “sin lodges in the will and the soul of a person and then becomes a source of spiritual corrosion.”  He added that “classic Catholic teaching on sin presumes an individual has a relationship within a community.

Sin involves not just a personal concern between God and me, but it dramatically involves how we belong to and impact one another.  Every sin, no matter how private it may seem, destroys in some fashion or another, the harmony that God plans and wills for the human community.”  As we reflect on the words of Pope Francis and Archbishop Gregory, we should realize that when we sin, it does not necessarily mean that we are bad people.  It means that we are missing the mark spiritually and, in essence, refusing to listen to God’s word and obey His will.  As a way to get back on the mark, our Church places a special emphasis on the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  We are invited to use this time of Lent as a time to reϐlect on our choices, failures, and shortcomings, and address them.

Visiting priests will be available to assist us at our Penance Service.  We will have priests from various backgrounds, priests of various ages, priests with various perspectives but having some common purposes: to serve as instruments of the Lord’s pardon, mercy, and forgiveness, and to help us experience spiritual joy in our hearts at this special time of the year.  Details concerning the Penance Service can be obtained from the Parish bulletin and website as well as from the Parish office.  I hope that you will prayerfully consider participating in the Penance Service and avail yourself of this special time of spiritual renewal.

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