Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Sometimes things such as ministries and events tend to run their course. It could be a certain fundraiser that people seem to lose interest in. Sometimes it’s a particular ministry where the need for it in the parish diminishes over time. And sometimes it can an event that is important to keep but may need a change in format to better meet the current situation. It’s the latter that I’d like to discuss in my bulletin this week.

Within my first or second year here at St. Charles, I made a change to how the seasonal confessions of Advent and Lent were handled. It used to be that there was one night with a Penance Service and several priests hearing confessions for the next hour and half or so. It seemed to meet some of the needs of the parish, but I did also hear from others that they couldn’t make it that night and had to arrange confession separately. Seeing that there was a potential need not being met, I adapted the way St. Charles offered confessions in Lent and Advent.

Many of you are familiar at this point with this new way. Setting aside one Saturday, starting with a Penance service at 9:30, confessions are available from 10:00AM through 4:30PM with different priests coming in for an hour-long shift. It has the benefit of widening the window for individuals to come for confession. And in the first several years, it seemed to be quite successful.

But here we are in 2024. And without others seeing it perhaps, the need and the use of the Day of Confessions has waned. Some of my brother priests have mentioned that they haven’t had many takers for their hour. This suggests that it might be time to readjust once more.

There are other factors involved. Getting upwards of six priests to commit to an hour of confessions on a Saturday in the busy seasons of Advent and Lent has proven tougher and tougher as time has gone on. And even in finding an open date that doesn’t conflict with other St. Charles activities and nearby parish activities is a little like a needle in a haystack. And so, faced with such realities, I’ve decided to try once more an Evening Penance Service with confessions.

My hope is that by doing this, it will both meet the needs of the parish and be a sustainable model to move forward with. It’s a little easier to get five priests all at the same time for one evening and it gives a bit more variety and choice to the penitent as to who to approach for confession. And by already expanding the regular confessions out by thirty minutes on Saturdays and starting at 3:30 now, I’m hoping that catches more of those that might be unavailable for this Monday, March 11 th at 7PM. I hope that this is a positive change for our parish and helps to meet our confession needs.

Peace and Goodness,
Fr. Dan