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Stingy confession schedules August 9, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Dallas Diocese, General Catholic, North Deanery.
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I’m a lucky guy.  I happen to go to two parishes in the Dallas Diocese that offer very generous confession times.  St. Mark in Plano is one of the best parishes in this regard, as they have about 4 hours of Confession a week with 3 priests in attendance each time.   The other parish has about 6-7 hours a week, with one priest.  I’ve argued for generous Confession schedules in the past, stating that my experience has been that “if you build it, they will come.”  At St. Mark, I think the number of confessions has exploded as more time has been added. 

This latter point is critical: a parish with 30 minutes of Confession one day a week is saying to the parishioners that a) Confession isn’t very important, and b) you probably don’t have many sins to confess, collectively.  Were that were true!  But with so many Catholics missing Sunday Mass for no grave reason, using contraception, aborting children, etc., it is unreasonable to think that parish X just doesn’t have many sinners.  Due to Original Sin and our fallen nature, that is just not possible.

Fr. Z had a post on this recently discussing this subject.  It seems that it is not rare for parishes to have as little as 30-60 minutes of Confession per week.  I know of a number of such parishes locally. The St. Joseph Richardson website indicates Confession is only available by appointment!  I know they’ve been waiting on a new pastor, but wow!  Many times, this 30-60 minute window is immediately prior to Mass, where the one priest hearing Confessions will have to excuse himself well before the 30 minutes is up to prepare for Mass.  As such, there are a number of local parishes where the parishioners have gotten the message – Confession is not important.  And so, they do not avail themselves of this Sacrament.  Is this a good thing for the salvation of souls?

I pray more pastors will prayerfully consider adding substantially more Confession time.  Emphasize the need to confess one’s sins verbally, to a priest, as St. James recommends in his book of the Bible, on a regular basis.  This should be done during homilies.  Also emphasize that to receive Communion unworthily is a grave sin, an act of great repugnance to our Lord.  My own personal experience, and that of several local priests, would seem to support the notion that stressing the need for Confession, and making it available, will lead to far more people in line during Confession times.  I have seen this at several parishes.  I pray the good priests who read this will consider adding more time for this very important Sacrament.

Comments

1. Colleen Hammond - August 9, 2010

HA! The local parishes up here near me don’t even HAVE a Confession schedule. You want to go to confession? MAKE AN APPOINTMENT TO SEE THE PRIEST!!!

So much for confidentiality….

2. George - August 9, 2010

Mater Dei Catholic Church which I attend often has confessions before, during and after each Mass. That’s at least three hours just on Sunday and not counting the confession times offered before, during, and after daily Mass. I would say Mater Dei offers the most confessions in Dallas. The priests there spent hours in the confessional and with an individual the priest does not rush them just because he has a line of people waiting outside.

3. Subvet - August 9, 2010

I’m fortunate. Our parish has daily confession, some days it’ll only be for 15 minutes. But we DO have it! There’s also the appointment option so we’re covered fairly well.

The situation at St. Joe’s is puzzling. If they’re so shorthanded, why doesn’t the diocese assign a priest to hear Confession IAW the regular schedule? When I attended St. Michael’s in McKinney the pastor, Fr. Biershanck, took sick for a few weeks and that was what happened. As I recall, a priest from UTD came to say Mass on weekends, the Masses on weekdays were modified to Eucharistic Services while regularly scheduled Confession was held on the weekend by a priest from I’m not too sure exactly where. But the bottom line is that the parish was able to have it’s needs met. Is the diocese so shorthanded now that isn’t possible?

4. Mary - August 11, 2010

Several years back I tried to make an appointment for confession and spiritual direction. I was never allowed to speak with the priest, Fr Smith. His staff wouldn’t allow it, they said I needed to wait until Fr.’s appointed time for confessions, which at the time were only Fridays, and I don’t believe very long, ending in mass, which puts pressure on both the confessor and priest. I was in crisis mode, they wanted details and put me off.

So, these people at St Joe’s have to go through the staff to make an appointment for confession, good luck. My experience is the staff at most parishes (and diocese offices) are not good (I’ll leave it at that). That will scare away most people, or as the writer indicated, give parishioners the impression it’s not important. And besides all that, it’s not for the staff to know the details of parishioners lives and such.

I am pleased to see that St Marks now has more hours, more priests hearing confessions, and adoration during confession.

Confession is one of the 7 sacraments, why is it looked upon in such a negative light (or none at all).


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