Parish
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Confession: Spiritual Detox

When I was walking with Bishop Kicanas from the sacristy to the church door prior to the Confirmation Mass, he asked a $M question that is, if I were planning to stay or not, I said, I am, your Excellency, but there’s something that holds me back. uh uh, what is it, he replied? If attendance in the confessional is the primary indication, it seems to me, as central as it is to the church’s mission, there isn’t a real need saving souls much as I want. They probably don’t need repentance. Their Pastor does, ironically and wants the toxics out. 


Early this evening, the parish was wonderfully blessed with, “the light is on you for you”. At the start,    participation was thin and as usual the same faces with relatively few newbies but towards the end, young people came in droves and was relieved. We had 9 priests from the Vicariate myself included who heard confessions and I could feel the spirit alive in the hearts of my people, Rise, walk, your sins are forgiven, the Gospel proclaimed from Matthew 9.  


I have to admit, the once popular and life changing sacrament of the church has dramatically lost its taste among Catholics which many claimed was caused by a wide variety of factors ranging from dreading to admit one’s peccadilloes and confess them to a Priest and not directly to God, having trouble with the notion of a person behind the screen and the growing understanding that it’s simply reserved for hard core sinners and saintly individuals. 


Who’s to blame? Maybe, the leaders for failing to highlight this all-important symbol and source of God’s healing power. And yet, times have changed.  I’ve discussed before that gone are the days when families make a trip to the church on Saturday afternoon. Venues have shifted in the public arena. Real, genuine and no holds barred confessions nowadays mostly happen in various ways and places: in the bar with the bartender and perfect stranger, that is, alcohol driven confession, in the web with an anonymous person in desperation and misery and of course, in talk shows, name it. 


Hearing confession has been the most rewarding in Priestly Ministry. I can be tough but I seldom see myself as a stern taskmaster who’s never satisfied with one’s spiritual slash religious performance chastising each penitent in the best possible means. Rather, I remind every soul of God’s unbounded love and compassion. If this input is a little bit too much, my intent is to illustrate and experience the beauty and power of confession, a great value in our Church. However, I can’t force anyone to enter into  the dark little room without that person making that decision. Amen.

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A Filipino Catholic Priest, born and raised in Virac, Catanduanes, Philippines, ordained for the Diocese of Tucson, AZ, eleven years in ministry and counting, currently assigned as Pastor of St. Christopher Catholic Parish, Marana, AZ.

1 Comment

  1. exactly what I want to do…go to confession but doesn't give that much effort to make it happen but I will definitely do it today Fr. Jo…this is something I want to do this time of lent…

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