Posts Tagged ‘Reconciliation Monday’

Reconciliation Monday

Monday, April 14th, 2014

I hope that our non-Catholic friends will pardon many of us Catholics today.  They will probably sense that we’re a bit jittery:  This is Holy Week, and, today is Reconciliation Monday throughout all five boroughs, Long Island, and seven counties north of the Bronx, reaching almost to Albany.  Sometime this week, especially today in the Archdiocese of New York, Diocese of Brooklyn, and Diocese of Rockville Centre (as every parish in those three dioceses has confessions available from 3:00-9:00) many of us will approach the sacrament of penance to conclude Lent and be ready for Easter.

So, we’re a little nervous.  Going to confession is like a trip to the dentist:  we know it’s good for us, and we sure feel better afterwards, but we’re anxious about doing it.

The simple truth is, we are sinners.  We Catholics – – like all Christians, and our Jewish neighbors – – acknowledge that our sins not only offend our loving God and harm ourselves, but that they hurt everybody else.

We claim to be people of love, and, I’m afraid, sometimes are hateful; we pretend to be selfless, and often are the opposite; we say we’re honest, and on occasion lie and cheat; we’re supposed to be for peace, and end-up fighting and arguing. We say we’re humble, but are all too often cocky and arrogant.  As is evident from what Pope Francis expressed Friday, we remain sickened and sorry for such a horror as the abuse of minors by priests, and negligence by bishops, however tiny a percent of clergy they may be.  We have disregarded the commandments, the beatitudes, the Bible, and the teaching of Jesus and His Church.  We admit it.  We’ve hurt God, ourselves, and our neighbors.  We’re sorry.

We know God forgives us when we ask Him to, because He told us so.  We experience that in Confession.  We find it hard at times to forgive ourselves.  And we ask those whom we have offended to pardon us for our failure to practice what we preach.

I guess that’s why we describe ourselves as “practicing Catholics,” because we keep trying to get it right.

So, this week finds us somber, as we recall what our sins did to Jesus that first Good Friday.  Jesus, on his way to His cross, fell three times, which means, in the Bible, “a lot.”  We slip and fall a lot too!

But, this Holy Week finds us ultimately joyful, grateful, renewed as we celebrate His resurrection from the dead this Easter Sunday.

Today finds us jittery as we prepare for confession on this “Reconciliation Monday.”

So, to our non-Catholic friends who read this blog, I say thanks for your patience with us, not only today, but every day, as we often stumble and fall in what I hope is our ongoing journey to follow Jesus more faithfully and generously.

And, to my fellow Catholics, I strongly urge you to take advantage of this most wonderful sacrament.  If you’re in New York, Brooklyn, or Rockville Centre, stop by any Church between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. today, and a priest will be waiting to hear your confession.  If you’re outside the New York metropolitan area, I am sure your local parish will have additional opportunities to receive the Sacrament.

Happy Passover to our Jewish neighbors!

Happy Holy Week and Easter to our Christian neighbors!

A Blessed Holy Week!

Monday, March 25th, 2013

Obviously, our new Holy Father, Pope Francis, hadn’t been listening to the news.

If he had, he would have heard about the major “problems” facing the Church, and would have announced “changes” in the Church’s “policies” on abortion, birth control, celibacy for priests, condoms, women priests, and allowing divorce and remarriage.

Instead, when he came to his window overlooking St. Peter’s Square his first Sunday as Successor of St. Peter, to speak and pray with the 100,000 people below, he didn’t mention any of those issues at all.

Poor man is already “out of it!”

Instead, he spoke of God’s mercy. “God never gets tired of forgiving us,” he observed.

Mercy is one of the richest, most profound teachings of the Bible.

Two facts: one, we sin a lot; two, God forgives us once we tell Him we’re sorry.

“Give thanks to the Lord for He is good! For His mercy endures forever!”

God’s mercy is not just some fuzzy, vague idea. It is personally experienced in the Sacrament of Penance, as we admit our sins, confess them, ask God’s mercy, and receive it!

Today is Reconciliation Monday. In all our parishes, priests will be hearing confessions from 3-9 PM.

No better way to begin Holy Week and get ready for Easter, than by a good confession.

God’s mercy! It’s ours for the asking!

Listen to the Bible!

Listen to Jesus!

Listen to Pope Francis!

See you all in the confessional line. A blessed Holy Week!

A Blessed Easter Season

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

It was great!  During Easter Sunday morning Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, I had a sneezing fit!  Apparently, all the magnificent lilies, in full springtime bloom throughout the sanctuary, got my allergies going!  The church was exploding with pollen!

It was worth it!  Because the Church is exploding with new life this paschal season!

We took the forty days of Lent, preparing for Easter, very seriously.  Congratulations to those who, by more fervent prayer, more dramatic self-denial, and enhanced service to those in need, responded so well to the Ash Wednesday invitation of the Lord to “return to me with all your heart!”

A special word of congratulations to those who approached the Sacrament of Reconciliation during Lent, especially the thousands who lined-up for confession on our Reconciliation Monday during Holy Week.

Our priests, deacons, and parish leaders report good crowds during the Holy Week liturgies.  Our cathedral was bustling with pilgrims — not tourists — and, as usual, Monsignor Robert Ritchie and the clergy, sacristans, ushers, volunteers, lectors, servers, and renowned choir continued the tradition of making St. Patrick’s a “house of prayer.”

On Good Friday night, I went out for a walk around the block with my little nephew, Pat, and we ducked into the cathedral at about 9 p.m.  How moving it was to see a long line of people up the center aisle waiting to venerate the cross on display at the communion gates.

Anyway, the forty days of Lent are behind us, so now let’s celebrate the fifty days of the  Easter Season leading up to Pentecost Sunday.

Back to the “explosion of new life” I mentioned at the start of this article.  See, it’s just not the lilies in full bloom (making me sneeze).  The risen life of Christ is in full bloom!

See, our faith tells us that the victory of Jesus over sin, Satan, and death at Easter is not just His triumph alone — He shares it with all of us!

So, at the Easter Vigil, for instance, throughout the parishes of this archdiocese, 2,000 people conquered sin, Satan, and death with Jesus as they were baptized, confirmed, received Him for the first time in Holy Communion, and joined His Church!  Alleluia!  Welcome!  What a boost you are for all of us!  And thanks to all of you who prepared our new Catholics through the RCIA.

So, for the next Sundays, thousands of our eight-year olds will share the risen life of Jesus as they make their first holy communion!  Alleluia!

So, over the next fifty days, thousands of our seventh and eighth graders will be confirmed with the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Alleluia!

So, over the next couple of months, hundreds of couples will begin new lives in the sacrament of marriage.  Alleluia!

Spring is busting out all over!

The Resurrection of Christ is radiating life and light all over!  Alleluia!

For fifty days we’ll keep the paschal candle on fire, we’ll sneeze from the lilies, we’ll bellow out “alleluia,” we’ll stay close to Jesus through the sacraments.

The darkness, gloom, and death of Good Friday do not have the last word.  The night is over; winter is gone.

The light and life of Easter Sunday morning triumph!  It’s morning . . . it’s springtime in the Church.

A blessed Easter!

Reconciliation Monday

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

Here is a letter expressing my gratitude to all of the priests for their efforts on Reconciliation Monday. Since our priests don’t always get the recognition they deserve, thank your parish priests for all that they do the next time you see them.

To: My brother priests
From: +Timothy M. Dolan
Re: Yesterday’s “Reconciliation Monday”
Date: Tuesday of Holy Week

Brothers: I’ll tell you in person at this afternoon’s Chrism Mass, but, great work on yesterday’s Reconciliation Monday!

Reports are coming in from the frontlines, from many of you, of a solid stream of penitents from 3-9 p.m., some fellas in the confessional until much later.

One priest reports he had to have a sandwich brought to him in the confessional because the line was too long to leave!

And apparently a lot of people returned to the sacrament after a long time.

If my own experience at the cathedral was indicative, it was a great success.

Granted, the evidence up until now is only anecdotal, but it looks consistent enough to declare this a big success.

Sadly, we did get a few reports about parishes with doors locked or no priests available, but, we knew some would, as usual, not participate. Their number seems negligible.

And, as one of you commented, the publicity was so well done that, even those who did not approach the sacrament at least were positively reminded of its value.

Should we start planning for Advent?

Thank you! Couldn’t have happened without you faithful confessors!

Renewed Holy Week good wishes!

Reconciliation Monday…and a Video Contest Too!

Friday, April 8th, 2011

Mark your calendars!  On Monday, April 18, all Catholic churches in the Archdiocese of New York, the Diocese of Brooklyn, and Diocese of Rockville Centre, will be observing Reconciliation Monday.  The Sacrament of Reconciliation – or, if you prefer, Confession or Penance – will be available from 3:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. You can stop in any church, and find a priest waiting and eager to celebrate the sacrament with you.  For those of you may feel more “comfortable” receiving the sacrament in a parish other than your own, here is a golden opportunity!

Just about every parish and diocese has special penance services, days of confession, and opportunities for people to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  After all, Lent is that season of the Church year when we are all called in a special way to repentance and conversion.  What better way to prepare for Easter than to die with Christ to our sin and rise with Him to a renewed life.

In my pastoral letter, The Altar and the Confessional, I wrote that Catholics should, “Experience the joy of forgiveness! Experience liberation from sin! Keep those confessionals busy! Keep your priests busy about the great work of dispensing the Lord’s mercy! Keep the Sacrament of Penance at the heart of Catholic life!”  Based on the number of people who have been receiving the sacrament at Saint Patrick’s Cathedral this Lent, it seems many people are taking me at my word.  (If it weren’t Lent, I’d give a rousing Alleluia!  But, I’ll wait for the Easter Vigil before I do that.)  For those of you who haven’t yet gotten to the confessional – what are you waiting for?  It’s never too late!  You can still make this a wonderful and fruitful Lenten season.

If it’s been awhile since you’ve received the sacrament, and you’re not quite sure you remember what to do – no problem!  The simplest thing to do is just tell the priest, and he’ll guide you through the process.  For those who might want to brush up a bit, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has a good resource on their website, which you might find helpful.

There’s something exciting that I’d like to bring to your attention.  The three downstate New York dioceses are sponsoring a video contest to promote Reconciliation Monday.  Students at any accredited educational institution – elementary school, high school, or college – can produce and submit short YouTube style videos that encourage people to receive the sacrament.  The contest winner – the video that gets the most views and votes – will receive $25,000, as will his or her school or parish.  There’s also a $10,000 second prize, and multiple third place prizes.  You can see the videos and vote for your favorites, as well as find full details and official contest rules, at  The contest ends soon, so hurry!