Bulletin Article for the Fifth Sunday of Lent (April 7, 2019)

Dear People of God,

I had a good retreat in Buffalo. The topic for the retreat was Confessions. We talked about the history of the Sacrament of Confessions. In the early Church it was something you only did once after Baptism. It was public and the penance could last years. If we went back to that, we would probably have even less people go than we do now. We also talked about whether people feel the need to go. Do people have less of a sense of sin than they did in the past? In a society where it is believed that there is no objective right or wrong, do people feel shame or remorse? One priest remarked that the attendance at Ash Wednesday would seem to indicate we do have a sense that we are sinful people. Do people feel like they can just pray to God and have their sins forgiven without a priest? The Church teaches that this is true of venial sin, but not for mortal sin. If one has committed a mortal sin and is not in a state of grace, one needs to go to Confession and receive absolution before receiving Communion. Even if one has not committed a mortal sin, the Sacrament of Reconciliation is also good for receiving the grace to resist sin in the future. If we are trying to become saints, if we are trying to become more holy, receiving the graces of the Sacrament of Reconciliation to resist sin is a great gift from God. The Sacrament of Reconciliation can be scary, but it does not need to be. Even if you have forgotten what to do, the priest can help you remember. And if the priest reveals anything you say in the confessional, then the priest is kicked out of the Church. People pay good money to tell people their problems (psychiatrists, psychologists); however, the Sacrament of Reconciliation is free.

Glancing at my calendar, I don’t see any big events coming up. Keep up the Lenten practices. Pray for fortitude and courage. The end is in sight. Easter (April 21) will be here before you know it. Hopefully you have family coming for this most important day in the life of a Christian. As of now, my parents are planning to come for Holy Week. So if you see a strange grey-haired couple wandering around, say hi to them.

God loves us! He created us for greatness. The penance, the suffering, is preparation for greatness, for heaven. Ask Mary’s intercession to receive the grace needed to become saints. Sainthood is not for other weird holy people. Sainthood is for all of us. Virtue and morality steeped in love, especially God’s love for us, is what will get us to our Baptismal goal, sainthood.

Peace of Christ,

Father Vogel

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