Preparation for our Lenten Confession : Next Weekend
Confession/Sacrament of Penance
What has commonly been referred to as ‘Confession’ is more properly called the ‘Sacrament of Penance,’ though it also bears the title ‘Sacrament of Reconciliation’. Confession, penance, and reconciliation are all aspects of the sacrament: we confess our sins; we undertake a penance to underline our seriousness about changing; we are reconciled with God and the Church. My preference is to name the sacrament the ‘Sacrament of Penance’ because that is what was decided at the Council of Florence in 1439.
Institution by Christ
On the day of resurrection Jesus appears to the disciples who had locked themselves in a house for fear of the Jews. Jesus appeared to them and spoke these words:
When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained’ (Jn 20:22-23).
Breath is always associated with imparting the Holy Spirit. In the older of the two accounts of creation in Genesis God breathed into the nostrils of man ‘the breath of life; and the man became a living being’ (Genesis 2:7). In the Johannine Pentecost God enables the apostles to bring about a new creation through the forgiveness of sin. Jesus transfers the power of forgiveness to his fledging Church. St Augustine has this to say about the event: ‘For it is not only Peter but the whole Church which binds and looses sins.’ This power is handed down through apostolic succession. When given the faculty to do so by their bishop, priests exercise the power given on the day of the Lord’s resurrection. The Catechism of the Catholic Church gives a cogent summary of the function of the priest in the sacrament of penance, drawing on some of the parables of Jesus which show God’s mercy:
When he celebrates the sacrament of penance, the priest is fulfilling the ministry of the Good Shepherd who seeks the lost sheep, of the Good Samaritan who binds up wounds, of the Father who awaits the prodigal son and welcomes him on his return…The priest is the sign and the instrument of God’s merciful love for the sinner (CCC 1465).
New Rotas for Ministers of the Word and Eucharist are available in the sacristy. Note: Ministers of the Eucharist are no longer obliged to wear a mask when distributing Holy Communion.
Easter Mass Cards are available from the office. These shared Masses will be celebrated on Easter Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.
Cork Alzheimers Café last Friday of each month 11am to 12.30pm in St Finbarr’s Hospital Activity Centre, Douglas Road. Light refreshments provided free of charge. All welcome. Friday 31st March the next meeting.
Parish Assembly meeting Monday 3rd April, at 8.00 pm
Recent Death We pray for John (Sean) McCoy, Rochestown Road; Katie Anderson, Leaving Cert. student at Christ King Secondary School. We offer our deepest sympathy to the families and to the staff and students of Christ King.
 St Augustine, Homily 124, The Divine Office II (London: O’Collins, 1974), 650.