We confess our sins to seek forgiveness, we do penance to show our willingness to change our patterns of behavior, and we seek to be reconciled with God and our brothers and sisters. During the Lent / Easter season we reflect on the Paschal Mystery of Christ, His suffering, death and resurrection, and how through this mystery of our faith Jesus has forgiven our sins and has called us to be new creations in His spirit. When we sin we diminish in our lives the Light of Christ that we received in our baptism. To help us rekindle the Light of Christ in our hearts and lives we have been given the Sacrament of Penance to be renewed by the grace of God and the power of the Holy Spirit.
During the season of Lent, we are challenged to remember that the Christian life is an ongoing journey of conversion of heart. The Sacrament of Penance can assist us greatly in our journey. I encourage you and your families to celebrate this sacrament in preparation for Easter and to make it a regular practice throughout the year to seek the healing graces of this sacrament.
This year Wednesday, March 21th, has been designated in the Rochester Diocese as a Day of Penance and Mercy. The Sacrament of Penance will be offered throughout the diocese at all the churches on that day.
If the scheduled times for the Sacrament of Penance are not convenient for you please call the parish office to schedule an appointment with me. The Sacrament of Penance/Reconciliation calls us to reflect on the love and mercy God offers us, and the healing and forgiveness we receive when we are contrite of heart. Once again, I strongly encourage you and your family members to receive the Sacrament of Penance as you prepare for Easter that you may celebrate more completely the new life we have received in Jesus.
Another opportunity for the Sacrament of Penance will be during our Parish Lenten Retreat. The Tuesday evening session of the Retreat will be a Communal Penance Service. The Retreat will be held the evenings of Sunday March 18 to Wednesday March 21. Fr. Mark McDonald, M.S.C. who is completing two terms of service as Superior General of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart will be our retreat leader. The retreat will be held at St, Patrick Church in Moravia. Each evening of the retreat at 6:30pm a soup supper will be offered in the church hall followed by the retreat presentations by Father McDonald in the church beginning at 7:00pm. Father Mark McDonald will be preaching at all the weekend Masses on March 17/18 to introduce himself and to set the tone for the retreat. I encourage you to mark your calendar for these Retreat days and I hope that you will be able to attend.
I know that some parishioners have a difficult time driving at night, so we are encouraging carpooling to the retreat. I ask that people who are willing to assist others by offering rides to the retreat to sign – up to do so. Sign-up sheets for drivers will be located in the church vestibules. Also, there is a sign-up sheet for those who need rides. My thought is that people could meet at the church where they regularly attend and then carpool to St. Patrick Church in Moravia from those locations.
As we journey together through Lent, let us pray for one another other that we may be touched by the healing mercy and love of God. God’s blessings and peace, Father Bill