Tomorrow evening is the Lenten Penance Service at my parish.
I’m not a frequent flyer at Confession, partly because I never seem to have good luck with it. I’ve tried penance services that turn into Near Occasions of Sin and had lackluster experiences at Saturday-afternoon Confession. (Last time I did that, 3 or 4 years ago, there was no penance, no Act of Contrition…I felt like Father was just phoning it in.)
So I stopped going.
I don’t think too many other people go either, judging by our Substitute Priest’s addendum to Sunday’s announcement about the Penance Service. He said that he’d asked the parish secretary why there was only one such service during Lent, and she promised him that the church wouldn’t even be close to full for that.
Well, around here Wednesday night is Folk Group night, but we decided that we’d practice on Thursday this week so we can go to Confession after hearing Father V’s insistence that this is the best thing we can do for our souls.
Honestly, I don’t feel like any priest has bothered before*. They announce the service and then leave us to our own devices. But Father V wasn’t letting it go that easily.
He said once, during a homily, that as a Substitute Priest he can say what he wants, because he’s only there temporarily so he doesn’t have to worry about being kicked out. So he tells it like it is. And that’s a good thing. I’m grateful that Father V cares enough about the state of our souls to make a big deal out of it.
*Please note that I’m not calling out my current pastor here, because (a) he only just got here in the summer and (b) he’s been dealing with health problems that have incapacitated him since early January, hence our need for a Substitute Priest.
Image credit: Pixabay, CC0 Public Domain.