With Holy Week just days away, it is not too late to realize how well prepared we are for the Resurrection of the Lord on Easter Sunday.
One way to help in this effort is through participating in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
Throughout the Lenten Season, Parishes have offered extended hours for the Sacrament, in addition to offering Penance Services, where multiple priests from the region are available to hear the confessions of a large number of people.
Realizing the need to have a universal opportunity for this important Sacrament of Mercy, all Parishes in the Diocese of Venice will offer Confessions from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Friday, April 8, 2022, and then again from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 9. These opportunities are made available so that the faithful may find ample opportunity to receive God’s Mercy in the Sacrament of Reconciliation during the Lenten Season.
Father Eric Scanlan, Pastor of Incarnation Parish in Sarasota, spoke during a March 31 Penance Service and explained how availing oneself of the Sacrament of Reconciliation at least once during Lent fulfills a specific obligation.
“Rules and obligations are not meant to burden us but to make room for good things to run wild and we need more of that – that holy wildness in our life,” Father Scanlan said.
Pope Francis often speaks about the healing benefits of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, saying that he goes about once every two weeks. “When I go to confession it is in order to be healed, to heal my soul, to heal my heart and to be healed of some wrongdoing.”
The Pope also reminds us that no one is free from sin and that feeling a little “ashamed before God is a grace… Going to confession is going to an encounter with the Lord who forgives us, who loves us and our shame is what we offer him… When one is in line to go to Confession, one feels all these things, even shame, but then when one finishes Confession one leaves free… forgiven, happy. This is the beauty of Confession! Jesus is there…and He receives you with so much love!”
As the Catechism teaches, the priest is acting in Persona Christi, the person of Christ, within the confessional. So, like presenting oneself at the altar to be nourished by Christ in the Eucharist, a person going to Confession, is not ultimately confessing to a priest, but confessing to and receiving forgiveness from Jesus Christ.
Father Scanlan said during the Penance Service that everyone comes to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation as a sinner, broken, wounded and in need of healing.
“As we reflect on these sins, it is easy to feel discouraged. Don’t listen to the voices of the evil one,” Father added. “God wants you to know that He loves you. He wants to pour His mercy and blessing out to you tonight. It is time to receive that freedom that Christ has for you. When we leave here, we have a new deliverance, a freedom, a holiness that is given to us from the mercy and blessing God pours forth in this Holy Sacrament.”
Please contact your local Parish for additional available confession times.