Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Holy Wednesday: The Francis Effect

Last night, my associate and I with the help of a Pauline priest walked out of our confessionals at 10:30pm after hearing over 200 confessions.  When the evening started, I looked out at a chapel full of penitents and I knew that more were on their way.  After 12 years, I'm used to this and even embrace this merry onslaught of confessions during Holy Week.  After we were done, my associate and I emerged from our confessionals tired but joyful.  He smiled and simply said jokingly, "This is the Pope's fault.  The picture of him going to confession has brought all these people out."  I couldn't agree more.  My associate has been faithfully serving at my parish for over 17 years.  He noted that in all those years, we had never heard so many confessions during Lent.  It wasn't just last night. Last Saturday, he heard 64 confessions by himself on Saturday afternoon because I was out of the parish at a wedding.  Last Friday and Saturday, our neighboring church and many churches throughout the Archdiocese were open for Reconciliation Weekend and were full.  I joined 6 priests on Friday night and it took us 2 hours to hear everyone's confessions.  A few weeks ago during our Lenten mission, two Argentine missionary priests heard probably over 30 hours of confession in my parish during the course of a week.  And still there were more confessions to be heard....

So, if this famous picture below is what is causing this rush back to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, then "Thank you Holy Father" for inspiring our people to return to the Lord and embrace his mercy.  There's still time.  Call your parish and ask for the sacrament.  Don't let Easter dawn if you haven't cleansed your soul.