When I arrived in our Diocese in 2001, I discovered one of the best pastoral initiatives I have ever known: Monday of Holy Week from 3 pm to 9 pm, the sacrament of penance and reconciliation is available in every parish of our diocese. In the past two years, Brooklyn and New York have joined us so that this Monday, March 25, confessions will be heard in all three downstate dioceses during that six-hour period. No one will be deprived of having the healing experience of confessing one’s sins and receiving absolution. Freed from the burden of sin, there can be no better preparation for the Holy Days of the Sacred Triduum and for the Easter celebration.

When I meet with young people before they are confirmed, I am very pleased to learn that now the sacrament of penance is an integral part of confirmation preparation. I often ask the young men and women if they were scared or if the priest yelled at them or if it was something that was “off-putting.” From them I never hear some of the excuses adults give, and I remind them not to fall into that old and untrue attitude that confession is threatening.  It is the great action of a merciful God whose love is so overwhelming that He – and He alone – wipes away the sins of all who confess those sins with a firm purpose of amendment.

Who wants to carry the burden of sin around like a heavy knapsack weighing us down? Get rid of them! Come to confession this Monday and discover the freedom and the peace, the joy and the contentment of being reconciled to God through the healing balm of sacramental confession and absolution. Monday 3 to 9 pm; every Church in all three dioceses!

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