A Message From Father Brian

Some of the most delightful (and important) moments in the life of a parish are ones that the larger community doesnít always have the opportunity to witness. One case
in point is our celebration of First Reconciliation, or Penance, with our 2nd grade boys and girls. With the help of Jean Rico and Maria Davidson from our Faith Formation Office, Father Tom and I had the privilege these past two Saturday afternoons of welcoming our kids into the loving embrace of the merciful Christ, where they received the gift of his forgiveness sacramentally for the first time.

I honestly canít say I remember my first confession (it never would have been called ďReconciliationĒ back then!), but I hope the children in our 2nd grade program remember every bit of it. Yes, some of them were nervous about doing this peculiar thing for the first time, but I think almost all of them walked (even skipped!) back to their parents with big smiles. And thatís precisely how it should beóthe mercy of Jesus is so profound a gift, and so lavishly given, that experiencing it should leave us feeling light as a feather.

Many of us tend to associate penance, or confession, with the season of Lent, which is still a good six weeks away. But there is never a time of year when itís inappropriate to
seek out the Lordís mercy in this brief but powerful sacramental encounter. So much has changed from the days of heavy curtains enclosing dark, claustrophobic confessionals, where the priestís disembodied voice may have left one more frightened than reassured. If you are one of the many, many Catholics who have set this sacrament aside, convincing yourself that it is an anachronism that serves no purpose in your own spiritual journey, I would respectfully invite you to reconsider. There are few experiences as freeing as that of laying down oneís burdens, of allowing the love of Christóin the blink of an eyeóto sweep aside everything and anything that may be a cause for shame, self-doubt, or nagging guilt. The One whose birth in Bethlehem we celebrated only a month ago, came precisely to liberate us from all that is wrapped in shadow and shame, all that would separate us from his Father, and from one another.
And this marvelous sacrament is the tool by which that liberation is available to us whenever we ask.

Please come to confession soon (no need to put it off till Lent!). Itís so simple, even a 2nd grader can do it.

May our brother and patron, St. Lawrence, pray for us!


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