Make This Week Truly Holy

04-05-2020Pastor's LetterFather Gregory Wilson

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Right off, I’ll be honest and tell you that I had imagined our sacred celebrations of Holy Week and Easter much differently. However, we will endeavor to make our online Masses and liturgies as holy and familiar as possible. There will be some changes since the celebration of certain liturgies without a congregation physically present alters the liturgy somewhat. For instance, Palm Sunday will not have the usual commemoration of our Lord’s entry into Jerusalem nor the blessing of palms. Even blessing palms and setting them out to be “picked up” is out since it is impossible to get a palm without touching many others, possibly spreading the virus.

Father Hepner has asked me to let you know that each of you and your intentions is remembered in his daily celebration of Holy Mass and his prayers. He misses us as much as we miss him!

At the livestream Masses, I mentioned the drastic drop in the weekly offertory, which was expected since we are not together to give our envelopes. Until we come up with a more creative way for you to give your envelope, the good ol’ postal service could use our help anyway. Thank you very much for helping to keep things going here at the parish, including payroll for our wonderful employees.

So, what do we do now that such an important Sacrament as Confession has been suspended? The sacred seal of the confessional has to be safeguarded at all costs (i.e., we can’t create a situation where your confession could be overheard). The distance required between priest and penitent could impinge upon the seal. Also, properly wiping down confessionals in between penitents is impractical if not impossible. So, what are we to do?

First, it is good to keep in mind that mortal (grave) sins are what must be brought to the Sacrament. Telling your mother you forgot to put your shoes away (when you didn’t), or “forgetting about” that extra stroke in golf, these things are not the same as perjury or tax fraud. Such actions, while still wrong, are usually seen as venial sins unless serious harm results, or unless they are committed with real malice. (See Catechism, 1846-1864, 2484) They are still sins/wrong, and we should always avoid them! But they do not completely sever our friendship with God since they were from our weakness and not necessarily a malicious act with dire consequences.

The Holy See has weighed in on what to do for now: “Where the individual faithful find themselves in the painful impossibility of receiving sacramental absolution, it should be remembered that perfect contrition, coming from the love of God, beloved above all things, expressed by a sincere request for forgiveness (that which the penitent is at present able to express) and accompanied by … the firm resolution to have recourse, as soon as possible, to sacramental confession, obtains forgiveness of sins, even mortal ones (cf. CCC, no. 1452).” Perfect contrition requires: the love of God; the sincere desire for forgiveness; and the ardent commitment to receive the sacrament of reconciliation (when available). In danger of death, call me! Otherwise, our present situation stresses the importance of remaining in a state of grace. Let us stay connected through faith. – Father Wilson