Have you heard the news of this floating around the Web? “Leading a penitential liturgy in St. Peter’s Basilica, Pope Francis surprised his liturgical adviser by going to confession during the service.” Check out the rest of the story here, and if you have been away from the Sacrament of Reconciliation for a while, we invite you to come back! Explore GoodConfession.com for more info.
Dear Friend of CatholicsComeHome.org,
Catholics Come Home® is blessed to announce another new evangomercial and a family coming home story!
Catholics Come Home® announces production of a new evangomercial: “Heavy Burdens”!
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said, “The New Evangelization begins in the Confessional.” Taking that to heart, Catholics Come Home® is in production of a new website dedicated to Confession and will start production on a new evangomercial called “Heavy Burdens” this November, to be released on Ash Wednesday. Please keep our production process in your prayers! This effort is also inspired by our dear friend Jeff V. Jeff, who was diagnosed a short time ago with ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease), was given 2-5 years to live. He is spending the last years of his earthly life drawing near to God, frequenting the Sacraments of Confession and the Holy Eucharist, and spending time with and providing for his family. We hope you too are inspired by a short clip from his recent interview with me.
Mary and her family return home with the help of Catholics Come Home®!
Please take a moment to read this powerful and beautiful story, sent to us by our new friend Mary from Trenton, New Jersey:
Our family—my husband, my three teenaged sons and I—has heard the call of Catholics Come Home and we have received this invitation. I was not raised as a Catholic as my husband had been, but became a Catholic just prior to our wedding. It was wonderful to belong and worship the Lord but I was new in my Christian faith, had much to learn and felt the draw to seek church experiences elsewhere. Just before my third son was born, we began to move away from the Catholic Church where we were married and where our first two sons were baptized. We spent some time visiting various churches, but no matter how long or in what manner of worship we tried, we just weren’t home. I had felt God leading me back to the Catholic Church but didn’t know where to begin. Our church traveling lasted for fifteen years.
I prayed for guidance and turned in faith to the Catholic School of our home parish. They welcomed us with open arms and this was the beginning of our return.
It was just a few months ago that the “Catholics Come Home” campaign had begun to catch my attention. The website was intriguing and had enough information to encourage me to visit often. I especially loved to watch the Evangomercials. I was a born-again Evangelical Christian who had finally realized that the Catholic Church was my home; it is vibrant, relevant and deeply steeped in Christian tradition. The journeys I had made through the other denominations were nice places to visit, but I couldn’t manage to make them a permanent home. The website, book (Catholics Come Home: God’s Extraordinary Plan for Your Life) and Facebook page “Catholics Come Home” have been instrumental in guiding me back, in guiding my family back.
As I have made my full circle journey back home to the Catholic Church I now find that my love for the Lord is complete. The Bible tells us to” Seek ye first the Kingdom of God” and seeking has brought me back to the Catholic Church and my family with me. We are no longer searching for spiritual fulfillment but have found our hope, our comfort and our faith in the Catholic Church once again.
Returning was easy, I walked into the rectory office, explained that we were moved by the “Catholics Come Home” campaign and would like to return. To my surprise there was no questioning, no condemnation or accusations, there was simply…welcome back. You can go home again and it is my heartfelt desire for people to come to know Jesus Christ and His Gospel, to place their faith in Jesus and experience Him through the Catholic Church. Thank you for the invitation; this Catholic has come home.
GK Chesterton once said, “The difficulty in explaining ‘why I am a Catholic’ is that there are ten thousand reasons all amounting to one reason: that Catholicism is true.” Let us continue to pray that more souls like Mary and her family will rediscover the goodness, beauty, and truth of Catholicism. With your help, we can continue airing Catholics Come Home® evangomercialsTM, particularly our newest “Heavy Burdens” ad, which will help souls all over our country find the peace and healing that only comes from God!
As always, we thank you for your continued support of our mission to invite Catholics and non-Catholics home to the Catholic Church.
Published: June 7, 2012 in The Georgia Bulletin
A priest once mentioned that the loneliest time of his week was Saturday afternoon when he sat in the confessional waiting for parishioners to show up. Although his comment was humorous, it points to a real problem. And here are some reasons many of us avoid this sacrament:
1. We may be afraid of looking foolish because we haven’t been to confession in a long time—and are uncertain about what to do. If you fall into this category, you can ask your confessor to guide you—or check this website for a refresher: www.catholic.org/prayers/confession.php.
2. We may have bought into the notion that we can confess our wrongdoings directly to God—and thus don’t need this sacrament. This belief goes against Catholic teaching, however, and it is not scriptural. Christ instituted the sacrament of reconciliation when he said to his apostles, the forerunners of today’s priests and bishops: “Whose sins you shall forgive they are forgiven. Whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.”
3. We’re uncertain about what to confess. One solution is getting a good examination-of-conscience guide to help us discern our sins. Many parishes provide these guides in the narthex, or you can ask a priest or deacon to suggest one. An excellent one for teens can be purchased at the Life Teen website: http://store.lifeteen.com/comeclean.aspx. A good examination of conscience for adults can be found online following my column at the Georgia Bulletin website.
4. We are embarrassed to mention our sins to another person. This is a common feeling because it is hard to admit our failures out loud. Praying ahead of time for the grace to be honest and courageous will help. It also helps to realize that the priest acts in persona Christi, which means that he is standing in for Jesus Christ, who knows our hearts so well.
5. Many people have been taught there is no need to confess venial sins, and they have not committed any mortal sins—so they don’t go to confession. However, according to the catechism, confession of venial sins is strongly recommended, since it helps us fight against evil tendencies.
6. Perhaps we struggle with the same sins over and over, and we are ashamed to admit this. It is true that part of a good confession is promising to avoid sins in the future—but we may fall short of the mark. Confession reminds us that God’s well of forgiveness is infinitely large.
7. We may need more than just a few minutes because we require spiritual counseling about our sins. In this case, it is best to make an appointment to see the priest in his office.
8. We are afraid of shocking the priest. Keep in mind many priests have heard thousands of confessions over the years. They surely won’t be astonished by what we confess. In fact, most priests are overjoyed that people are coming to confession, and they are eager to offer absolution.
9. We may be hesitant to tell our sins to someone we also socialize with at church suppers. The confessional has a privacy screen, but if this isn’t reassurance enough, you can always confess to a priest at another parish. Keep in mind that priests will never divulge to anyone what you have confessed.
10. We may be afraid the priest will ask us to make changes in our lives. For example, a confessor may tell a couple engaging in pre-marital sex that this is a mortal sin, or tell a married couple that using contraception is a mortal sin. It is hard to face the truth about ourselves and often it is difficult to change. But if we avoid doing this, our souls are in grave danger.
“I must go to confession with love because I have an opportunity to make my soul clean, to become pure.”
“Confession is Jesus and I, and nobody else. Remember this for life.”
“Don’t waste time on what happened before. If something is hurting you inside, preoccupying you, get it out, make a good confession.”
“It is a place where I allow Jesus to take away from me everything that divides, destroys.”
“Only to confession can we go as sinners with sin and come out as sinners without sin.”
-from Where There is Love, There is God
Have you taken the opportunity to experience the grace of the Sacrament of Reconciliation this Lent? If not, now is the time. Let us prepare ourselves for Christ’s glorious Resurrection at Easter by making penance for our sins throughout these 40 days.
Why do Catholics confess their sins to a priest, rather than going directly to God?
Find out the answer to this question here.
Also, check out the great articles on Confession, the priesthood, and more on CatholicsComeHome.org!
“Confession heals, confession justifies, confession grants pardon of sin. All hope consists in confession. In confession there is a chance for mercy. Believe it firmly. Do not doubt, do not hesitate, never despair of the mercy of God. Hope and have confidence in confession.” -St. Isidore of Seville
Today the Church Celebrates the feast day of Saint Cyprian. May these words of his inspire you when approaching the Sacrament of Reconciliation:
“To him who still remains in this world, no repentance is too late. The approach to God’s mercy is open.”
Are you a little “rusty” and in need of some information on how to make a good confession? Have you ever wondered why as Catholics we go to a priest for confession? Visit the CatholicsComeHome.org website to grow in a deeper understanding and enthusiasm for the beautiful Sacrament of Reconciliation.
St. Cyprian, Pray for Us!