From our pastor Father Neil Herlihy
Pope Francis reminds us that Confession is meant to be a sincere time of conversion and spiritual healing, an occasion to demonstrate trust in God’s willingness to forgive His children and to help them back on the path of following Jesus. He has recently urged his priests to be gentle when people approach them for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. As we know the Sacrament is not here to punish us but rather to get us closer to the Lord who loves us. As mentioned previously, in one of his Lenten Messages, Pope Francis stated, “If we humbly implore God’s grace and accept our own limitations, we will trust in the infinite possibilities which God’s love holds out for us.” He also challenged us to extend God’s mercy to those around us. He said, “Anyone who wishes to be merciful must have a strong and steadfast heart, closed to the tempter, but open to God.” Pope Francis has also stated, “Every time we go to confession, God embraces us and celebrates.”
It is important to remind ourselves that when we sin, it does not necessarily mean that we are bad people. It means that we are missing the mark spiritually. As a way to get back on the mark, and follow the light of Christ, our Church places a special emphasis on the Sacrament of Reconciliation. To this end, we will offer the Sacrament at a Penance Service here at Saint Brigid next Thursday, March 22nd. At the Penance Service, we will have many visiting priests available to serve as instruments of the Lord’s pardon, mercy, and forgiveness, and to help us experience spiritual joy in our hearts. Through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, we can cleanse our souls as we prepare for the commemoration of the passion, death, and Resurrection of Jesus. The Sacrament is here to heal, not to condemn.
Details concerning the Penance Service can be obtained from the Parish bulletin, as well as from the Parish APP and website. We are invited to heed the challenge of Our Holy Father to avail ourselves of the Sacrament of Reconciliation as we await the opportunity to celebrate the glory of the Resurrection of Our Lord and Savior.