Thursday, December 11, 2008

Advent Reconciliation Service

Last spring, Pope Benedict XVI, speaking to thousands of young people gathered in Rome, said that in the celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation "the Holy Spirit will descend into our hearts to forgive our sins and renew us interiorly, giving us a strength that will make us, like the apostles, bold in proclaiming Christ." He then personally entered a confessional in St. Peter's Basilica and spent time hearing the confessions of dozens of teenagers.

This morning, here at CMH, we had a wonderful Advent Reconciliation service for the entire school. Mr. Jon Brzeski and the members of the Campus Ministry Leadership Team did a great job planning and putting forth a moving prayer and reflection service.

Present to assist in individual confessions were myself and five others priests: Fr. Joe Hornacek, pastor of St. Anthony's, Pewaukee, Fr. Dick Robinson, pastor of St. Joseph's, Big Bend, Fr. Dan Volkert, associate paster at St. Anthony's, Pewaukee, Fr. Nate Reesman, associate pastor of St. Mary Visitation, Elm Grove, and Fr. Frank Malloy, pastor of St. James, Mukwanago, was also our homilist.

After the short all-school prayer service ended, and throughout the lunch hours, all of the priests were available to the students. For over two hours, all six of us were hearing confessions without interruptions. Each of the visiting priests expressed how impressed they were with both how many kids participated and, more importantly, how seriously they took the sacrament.

You may not know this, but CMH also works to have a priest available at the end of the school day almost every Thursday in the chapel to hear confessions (thank you Fr. Uhen of the Layton Study Center for this assistance) and I hear them by apppointment if young people want to meet.

Many priests and bishops lament how few people, especially young people, participate in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Skeptics need only visit CMH to see how things could be. The kids were not forced to go to confession this morning, but they were lined up to do so nonetheless. Maybe we can all learn something from them today!

A Blessed Advent Journey to all.

Fr. Paul

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