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Confession is good for the pope and it’s good for your soul, too

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Dialog Editor

Parishes will add additional times for confession this Lent

Every day of each week this Lent in the Diocese of Wilmington there will be opportunities somewhere in Delaware or the Eastern Shore of Maryland to receive absolution for sins in the sacrament of confession.

During this Year of Mercy proclaimed by Pope Francis, Bishop Malooly has initiated a Lenten program in which each parish will add a second opportunity to confessions to its regularly scheduled time each week for the sacrament of reconciliation.

(See list at bottom of page.)

“In his first interview, Pope Francis called himself a sinner who knows he’s been loved by God,” Bishop Malooly said this week. “During this Lent, we in the Diocese of Wilmington have the opportunity not only to confess that we are sinners, but also to experience God’s love in this great sacrament. I hope all Catholics in the diocese will take advantage of God’s unending gift of mercy.”

A clergyman hears the confession of Pope Francis during a penitential liturgy in St. Peter's Basilica during Lent 2014. (CNS/L’Osservatore Romano/Reuters)
A clergyman hears the confession of Pope Francis during a penitential liturgy in St. Peter’s Basilica during Lent 2014. (CNS/L’Osservatore Romano/Reuters)

The diocese’s Year of Mercy focus on confession during Lent echoes the pope’s Lenten program for the Diocese of Rome — 24 Hours for the Lord — when parishes throughout the Eternal City will be open all day and night on March 4 for penitential services and confessions.

The “open all night” confessionals in Rome churches next month, shouldn’t be surprising from a pope who has confessed and received absolution from a priest in St. Peter’s Basilica before he hears confessions during a Lenten penitential service each year.

The priests of the Diocese of Wilmington, “hearing Pope Francis’ call, decided to commit themselves and their parishes to increasing opportunities for the sacrament,” said Father Joseph W. McQuaide IV, vice chancellor of the diocese. “How great it will be that every day throughout the season of Lent someone will be feeling God’s merciful embrace.”

Father McQuaide, who also serves at Our Lady of Fatima Church in New Castle, noted that Pope Francis’ declaration for the Year of Mercy said, “Let us place the sacrament of reconciliation at the center once more in such a way that it will enable people to touch the grandeur of God’s mercy with their own hands.”

The vice chancellor noted that confession hasn’t necessarily been “at the center” of many Catholics’ lives in recent decades, but the Holy Father, “since the beginning of his pontificate has highlighted the great gift of the sacrament” and emphasized that for each penitent the sacrament is a true source of interior peace.

Like a good father, the pope wants us to know that peace, Father McQuaide said. “He’s inviting us to approach the Lord and seek out his mercy.”

A priest for five years, Father McQuaide said he’s seen those who have been away for the sacrament for an especially long time.

“When they approach the Lord this way, they find the peace the pope is talking about.”

Their reconciliation “becomes a defining moment for who they are: a sinner who has been loved by God, just like Jorge Bergoglio [Pope Francis] is.”

For Catholics who are taking the opportunity for confession during the Year of Mercy after a long time, Father McQuaide recommends going at the beginning of the hour, not at the end, and “to let the priest know it’s been a while.”

He also reminds the faithful that confessors are called to be like the father in the story of the Prodigal Son. They are called to embrace the repentant son who comes back home and to express the joy of having him back.

“Be like the pope; go to confession,” Father McQuaide said.

 

Lent begins Ash Wednesday, Feb. 10.

 

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Additional Lenten Reconciliation Services available in the Diocese of Wilmington

 

All services take place in parish churches unless otherwise indicated.

 

 

Mondays

7 a.m., St. Francis De Sales, Salisbury, Md.

8:30 a.m., St. Peter the Apostle, New Castle, St. Anthony Chapel

5 p.m., St. Thomas the Apostle, Wilmington

6 p.m., St. John the Beloved, Wilmington

6:30 p.m., Church of the Holy Child, Wilmington

6-7p.m. (Feb. 15, 22, 29, and Mar. 7 only), St. Mary of the Assumption, Hockessin

7 p.m. (March 14 only), Holy Rosary, Claymont

 

Tuesdays

8:30 a.m., St. Peter the Apostle, New Castle, St. Anthony Chapel

12 p.m., St. Joseph, French St., Wilmington

6-7 p.m., St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Bear

7 p.m., St. Catherine of Siena, Wilmington, Pastoral Center Chapel

Wednesdays

8:30 a.m., St. Peter the Apostle, New Castle, St. Anthony Chapel

9:30 a.m., St. John the Apostle, Milford

10 a.m., Christ Our King, Wilmington

11 a.m.-12 p.m., Holy Name of Jesus, Pocomoke, Md.

12 p.m., St. Joseph, French St., Wilmington

1 p.m., St. Joseph on the Brandywine, Greenville

5:30 p.m., St. Paul, Wilmington, Chapel

6:00 p.m., St. Ann, Wilmington

6:30 p.m., Church of the Good Shepherd, Perryville, Md.

6:30 p.m., Immaculate Conception, Elkton, Md.

 

Thursdays

8:30 a.m., St. Peter the Apostle, New Castle, St. Anthony Chapel

9:15 a.m., St. Edmond, Rehoboth Beach

12 p.m., St. Joseph, French St., Wilmington

6 p.m., Corpus Christi, Elsmere, Wilmington

6 p.m., Immaculate Heart of Mary, Wilmington

6 p.m., St. John-Holy Angels, Newark, Holy Angels

6:30 p.m., Holy Family, Newark

6:30 p.m., St. Joseph, Middletown

7 p.m., Parish of the Resurrection, Wilmington

7 p.m., St. Luke, Ocean City, Md.

4:30-5:30 p.m. (Each Thursday of Lent except Mar. 17), St. Ann, Bethany Beach

 

Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays

5:30 p.m., St. Hedwig, Wilmington

 

Fridays

9 a.m., St. Margaret of Scotland, Newark

9:15 a.m., Sacred Heart, Chestertown, Md.

12 p.m., St. Joseph, French St., Wilmington

2 p.m., St. Jude the Apostle, Lewes

Approx. 4 p.m. (After 3 p.m. Stations), St. Dennis, Galena, Md.

5 p.m., St. Polycarp, Smyrna

5:30 p.m., Church of the Holy Cross, Dover

6 p.m., Our Lady of Fatima, New Castle

6 p.m., St. Benedict, Ridgely, Md.

7 p.m., Our Lady of Lourdes, Seaford

8 p.m., Ss. Peter & Paul, Easton, Md.

7:45 p.m. (Feb. 12, 26, March 11), Our Mother of Sorrows, Centreville, Md.

7:45 p.m. (Feb. 19, March 4, 18), St. Peter, Mission Church, Queenstown, Md., Mission Church

 

Saturdays

9:30 a.m., St. Helena, Bellefonte, Wilmington

9:30 a.m., St. John Neumann, Berlin, Md.

12 p.m., St. Joseph, French St., Wilmington

3-4 p.m.,  Cathedral of St. Peter, Wilmington

3 p.m., St. Mary Refuge of Sinners, Cambridge Md.

3 p.m., St. Mary Star of the Sea, Ocean City, Md.

3:30 p.m., St. Christopher, Kent Island, Md.

4:30-5 p.m., St. Paul, Delaware City

 

Sundays

8:30-9 a.m., St. Paul, Delaware City

9:45 a.m., Our Lady of Good Counsel, Secretary, Md.

10 a.m., St. Elizabeth, Wilmington

10 a.m., St. Mary Magdalen, Sharpley, Wilmington

3:45-4:45 p.m., St. Patrick, Wilmington