I have had the pleasure of being confessor for many people over the years of my priesthood. My first assignment in Seattle gave me the opportunity to hear and heal a steady stream of penitents every Saturday for two hours or more (not counting walk-ins and special appointments). Upon being moved to our house in Berkeley the same blessing was present. Since then I have been in ministries where it seems the gift of Reconciliation is less valued, or maybe we just have been going about it wrong.
In this present assignment to Eugene (the third time I have been here and second as a priest) I have experienced days when no one approached the Sacrament. Might it be that Saturday afternoon is not convenient for people?? Could it be that there are no sinners? (A joyous condition indeed!). I just hope that people have not forgotten that God chose to bestow this gift of His loving kindness in Christ Jesus so that we could shed our sinful natures and be healed of all that may prevent us from living the fullness of Christ’s call to holiness – wholeness.
During the academic year the Dominican Friars have decided to try to make the Sacrament more available; Tuesday and Thursday before the 5:00pm Evening Prayer and Mass, along with the usual confessions on Saturday before the 5:00pm Mass (primarily for the permanent community), Tuesday evening during Adoration and Wednesday evening before the 9:00pm Mass (primarily for the student community). Of course both Fr. Peter and I try to be available whenever individuals ask for confession outside the normal times.
May these opportunities to receive the special graces suited to the individual needs of our people be fruitful.
Blessings and Peace
The Sacrament of Reconciliation during the academic year is normally available at St. Thomas More Newman Center:
Western Dominican Province Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus Dominican Friars