Saturday, April 30, 2011

Making Mercy Available

I've been thinking something similar to this lately.
Defenders of this woeful practice argue that even during the 45 minutes a week confession is available, not that many people take advantage of it, so why increase the hours?

People who think like this completely miss the boat.

... The chintzy hours in which confession is available is a tremendous barrier to the growth in mercy that we all agree that we want. If the Church wants people to go to confession, then barriers to confession must be removed and the number one barrier to confession is availability.

I've noticed that every time our parish has held a penance service, say, for a special liturgical season, as well as the regular times confession is scheduled (when I've shown up, at least), there's a respectable line for as long as confession lasts. Sometimes, if only one priest is hearing confessions, and the line starts to stretch, the other priest at our parish will set up a screen in a chapel on the other side of the church, and sometimes people are turned away at the end of the scheduled time because preparations for Mass get underway; although usually one priest tries to stay as long as he can.

I can't help but think of that line in Field of Dreams, paraphrased: If you schedule it, they will come.

And I think, if it were practical in a parish of over 1900 families (if memory serves) and two priests, that ours would like this idea.

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