The mystery of the priesthood

Honor your ‘father’ on Priesthood Sunday
By Fr. Thomas Langer
Priests are mystery men. They come in assorted sizes, ages, weights and collars. They are found everywhere – speeding along, perspiring over, walking by, kneeling on, praying over, laughing with, preaching to, teaching about, pardoning for, and playing baseball with.
Little children run to them; teenagers marvel at them; aged folk turn to them; lay people treasure them; non-Catholics stare at them; and Mary watches over them. A priest is Prudence in a T-shirt; Fortitude with a breviary in his hand; Justice on a ball diamond; and Temperance at any party. He is Faith with a blueprint; Hope with a sense of humor; and Charity with a golf club in hand.
A priest may be anything from a contemplative monk in a monastery to a magazine editor on Wall Street, from a labor mediator to a TV personality, from a student to a professor. Formerly known as the boy-around-the-corner, he’s a member of family, yet belongs to none. He penetrates secrets, shares sorrows, heals wounds. He has the trust of a child, the kindness of a best friend, the sternness of a tightrope walker, the authority of an encyclopedia, the versatility of a commando, and the salesmanship of a Fuller Brush man.
A priest is a humble creature – a mystifying worker at all professions. His hours are the longest; his salary the smallest; his Boss the best! He likes good pastors, the smiles of children, a good sermon; a cooked meal, and the name “Father.” A priest is all things to all men in the sight of God.
He may be misquoted, mistaken, and misunderstood, but he’ll always forgive –because he’s a mediator, a peacemaker, a go-between heaven and earth. It’s no wonder God loves him. He’s a man standing at an altar, clothed in holy clothes, who, while being aware of his own nothingness, speaks to God for us and to us for God. And although his greatest act is to offer sacrifice, his most consoling one is to say to me, “Go in peace - Your sins are forgiven.”
This column was reprinted from Our Sunday Visitor.

Don’t forget your priest this Sunday
Priesthood Sunday is Oct. 29. It is a day to reflect upon and affirm the role of the priesthood in the life of the church.
Please consider sending a card to your pastor or take the time to tell them how much they’re appreciated.

Bishop: couples bring ‘new wine’ into the world

The couples who attended the annual Diocesan Wedding Anniversary Mass reflected on the many years they shared since they first exchanged vows, but Bishop Carl A. Kemme challenged them to think even further back into time – to the Wedding at Cana.
“Could it be that in the mind of Christ, the divine Son of God, at that moment when the headwaiter tasted the water-made-wine and realized that it was the best of wines, that Jesus peered long into the future and saw you, and all married men and women in this time and in this place, and chose you to be the vessel that would bring this ‘new wine’ to a world that is often devoid of hope, meaning, life, and love?”
Jesus, through the Blessed Virgin’s intercession, prevented a disastrous embarrassment for the wedded couple, Bishop Kemme said, and transformed the event into a sign of hope and life and love.
“The choice wine of God’s eternal love, which married man and woman would now embody in a sacrament, is a sign instituted by Christ to give grace. And what is this grace? Jesus Christ, the new wine of the new covenant that is offered to us in abundance and without end.”
Bishop Kemme told 113 couples attending the 46th annual anniversary Mass Sunday, Oct. 8, at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita, that the mission they embraced at their weddings was to offer the “new wine” of Jesus’ undying love to their families, friends, and everyone else who would come into their lives.
“You must continue this mission faithfully in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer, until death do you part and at last take your rightful place at the wedding feast of the Lamb,” he said.
The bishop said his own parents are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary this year and that, although much has changed, the one constant in those six decades was their commitment to each other and their children.
“They worked hard to provide a home and to build a family for us, instilling in us our Catholic values and beliefs,” Bishop Kemme said. “As your children and grandchildren no doubt also feel, my siblings and I and our ever growing family benefit each day by the simple, quiet, and yet ever powerful witness of our beloved parent’s spousal love and life.”
The couple attending the celebration married the longest were wedded 70 years ago, in 1947. Thirty-eight parishes were represented at the event.
A reception in Good Shepherd Hall followed the Mass. The event was sponsored by the diocesan Office of Marriage and Family Life.

The rosary connects us to the mysteries of God, bishop says

Bishop Carl A. Kemme described the rosary as a powerful tool that connects us to the mysteries of God at a noon Mass Friday, Oct. 13, a Mass that marked the centennial of the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima, Portugal.
The bishop said he was overjoyed to walk out of the sacristy into a church that was at capacity with the faithful. “It is wonderful to see you doing what the Blessed Mother asked you to do.”
The rosary is a powerful prayer, he said, adding that when we pray it “we are washed with the principle mysteries of Christ’s salvation for our souls.”
“It will benefit our spiritual lives if we never let a day pass – if at all possible – without taking up our beads,” Bishop Kemme said.
The rosary hearkens the faithful back to Jesus’ words, he said, “Repent and believe in the good news. For the kingdom of God is at hand.”
The Blessed Mother echoes the words of her divine son, Bishop Kemme said, so that our souls will be ever cleansed…and so we can go directly to heaven.”
Reparation is a word we don’t hear today, he said, suggesting that the faithful fast and offer up their sufferings, as Our Lady of Fatima said, for a divine purpose.
The suffering could also be offered for “the many godless things happening in the world today,” Bishop Kemme said, adding that abortion was the greatest of those.
The Blessed Virgin would be delighted to see the great number at Mass, he said, closing his homily by again recommending the faithful take up their rosaries and connect to the mysteries of God.

2017 Faith & Family Festival Saturday

The Faith and Family Festival Saturday, Oct. 21, at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Wichita is addressing a topic that has been raised at Bishop Carl A. Kemme’s listening sessions: strengthening marriage and family life.
Father David Lies, vicar general of the Diocese of Wichita, said the Faith and Family Festival is an opportunity for the faithful to benefit from something Bishop Kemme has been hearing in his listening sessions.
“We’ve had four of those listening sessions so far and in every one of them there are desires among the faithful to support marriage and family life,” he said.
That topic is raised, he said, whenever they ask the questions: What could we be doing better? Or what should be priority for the diocese in the next three to five years?
“That is one that has come up consistently – with acknowledgments that we’re doing good things already,” he said from his office in the Chancery.
“But, looking at the culture around us and seeing how marriage in particular is being challenged and when marriage is challenged, then families are challenged.
The goal of the day, he said, is to hear inspiring talks to strengthen married life, for children to have an opportunity to understand their relationship with Jesus’ relationship, and for families to have opportunities in prayer at Mass, and food and fellowship to continue to grow strong as family.
The event will include dynamic presentations, Eucharistic adoration, the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and an opportunity to spend a day in prayer and reflection with your spouse.
Danielle Bean, publisher of Catholic Digest, and Arland K. Nichols, president of the St. John Paul II Foundation, will be the keynote speakers for the adult portion of the festival. The day will conclude with a vigil Mass and cookout.
The festival is once again being hosted in collaboration with the St. John Paul II Foundation.

Want to attend the family festival?
The Faith and Family Festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 21, at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Wichita. Walk-ins are welcome.

Bishop to celebrate Mass outside of abortion clinic in Wichita Oct. 28

Pro-life speaker to deliver talk at luncheon at Blessed Sacrament
Terry Beatley is spreading the word about the deception of the abortion industry.
She will speak at a luncheon at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Wichita, Saturday, Oct. 28, after Bishop Carl A. Kemme celebrates a Mass for life outside the abortion clinic in Wichita and leads a Eucharistic procession around it.
Beatley will talk about her association with Dr. Bernard Nathanson; how he viewed the Catholic Church’s pro-life stance; how he separated many Catholics from Catholic doctrine; how Nathanson was a key to high abortion rates in minority communities; his conversion story; and what he shared with Beatley about the keys to overturning Roe v. Wade.
“Every Catholic should know about the abortion industry, its attack on parental rights and the domestic church, and how Catholics can reclaim and restore the church’s mantle as the unwavering protector of the right to life of the unborn,” she said.
Her presentation will be historical. “We’re going to go into depth into what he (Dr. Nathanson) called the Catholic strategy. It was a very destructive, methodical, effective way of separating Catholics’ religious doctrine from their legislative judgment – it was intentional.”
The pro-life speaker said her impression from traveling around the United States is that the pro-life movement is continuing to strengthen.
The youth in the country are becoming more pro-life, she said, adding that the key component in the pro-life movement is having an understanding of the founders of the abortion movement.
“You have to understand what was deployed: the propaganda, the strategy,” she said. “And when you can understand that, then it becomes a personal choice. Are you going to stand on lies? Or are you going to stand on the truth?

Bishop to celebrate Mass at abortion clinic

Bishop Carl A. Kemme will celebrate a Mass for Life at 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 28, in front of the abortion clinic at 5107 E. Kellogg in Wichita.
After the Mass, Bishop Kemme will process the Eucharist around the block. To close the morning’s events, Terry Beatley, the founder and president of the Hosea Initiative, based in Mathews, Virginia, will briefly introduce a talk about the deception of the abortion industry.
Bentley will finish speaking, before a light lunch, that day at Blessed Sacrament Church in Wichita. Those interested in attending the lunch are asked to make a reservation. The cost for lunch is $10.
To make a reservation or for more information about the event, email or call 316-269-3935.
In case of inclement weather, all events will be held at the same times at Blessed Sacrament Church in Wichita.

Italian mosaics installed at Wichita cemetery

The long awaited mosaics for the new Holy Family Mausoleum at Resurrection Cemetery have finally arrived. Gino Tassara from Inspired Artisans, of Milwaukee, Wisc., recently installed four mosaics produced by Farrari & Bacci Mosaic Studio of Pietrasanta, Italy.
The mosaics portray Mary and Child, Joseph and Child, Jesus Divine Mercy, and Jesus Good Shepherd.
Jim Sheldon, director of cemeteries for the diocese, said the new Holy Family Mausoleum was needed at Resurrection Cemetery because the old mausoleum has been sold out for some time now.
He worked with suppliers who were members of the Catholic Cemetery Conference to design and build the mausoleum as well as the mosaics. Holy Family mausoleum was designed to accommodate casket burials as well as cremated remains in accordance with Catholic Church preferences and customs. The mausoleum was blessed by Bishop Kemme last May.
Holy Family mausoleum was built as a “garden” mausoleum, that is not closed off but rather open with a roof that extents between the two sections of the building. The basic structure is poured concrete with a granite facade.

Backpacks 4 Kids gets another boost

Program serves needy children with ‘kid friendly’ food on weekends
After receiving another major donation, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul’s Backpacks 4 Kids program has begun its second school year of feeding deserving Catholic students.
The program started a year ago, and grew as administrators learned about the program. By the end of the school year, Backpacks 4 Kids provided 189 Wichita area Katherine Drexel schoolchildren with a bag of “kid friendly” food every weekend.
The current plan is to expand beyond Wichita-only St. Katherine Catholic Schools Drexel Fund schools to all 23 Drexel schools in the Diocese of Wichita. However, this will require significant additional fundraising. The ultimate goal is to provide weekend food to all diocesan school children in need, not just those in Drexel Schools.
JoAnn Cooper, the SVdP Backpacks 4 Kids program coordinator said, “The program would never have grown so quickly without the support of major donors like Ron and Petrina Krimm-Morley, who recently blessed these deserving children with $12,000, after pledging $10,000 in the first year of the program. And our hope is that their continuing support will inspire others to support the program as well, with any amount, large or small.”
Students at St. Anne School, Wichita, have benefited from the weekly food since the beginning of the program. In appreciation, they presented artwork they had created to the Morleys.
Ron Morley said, “When the students of St. Anne’s gave us the picture, I was extremely humbled. The students, rather than being on the playground, gave up their play time to make the picture. This is true stewardship of time and talent. This is all they had to give.
“We knew right then and there we had no other choice than to make another gift. When we witnessed the 20 percent growth in the number of needy kids, I felt compelled to increase our donations an equal 20 percent, up to $12,000. Petrina and I truly believe someday, one of these children will eventually take our place.”
Wichita area public schools have a similar program called “Food 4 Kids,” but it doesn’t benefit hungry children attending private schools.
Cooper and others involved in the program met with Bishop Kemme last year and received his blessing and support. He wrote a letter to the committee stating: “With a diocesan gift to the program, I would like to encourage you to inform our people of this need as well as seek donations from parishioners and other individuals and business to help us address this alarming need. It is a sad truth that hungry children are closer than we might think.”
Cooper said many people have helped the program with donations of time, talent, and treasure. “We want to thank all those who have helped, and continue to support the program.”

Want to make a donation?
The Backpack 4 Kids goal last year was $35,000. This year it’s $55,000. One packet of food costs $5.75 including delivery expenses. Ninety-eight percent of every dollar collected last year was used to buy food; 2 percent was used for printing expenses and advertising.
Checks may be mailed to SVdP Backpacks 4 Kids, P.O. Box 780926 Wichita, KS 67278. Donate online at: http//

Students reaching out to lift up other students

All it took was a single message on his classroom chat site and An Vu had 20 volunteers. From that, a nationwide after-school tutoring program began.
Vu, a senior at Kapaun Mt. Carmel High School in Wichita, is the founder and president of Reach Out Tutoring, whose volunteers give of their time and talent to mentor students at Holy Savior Catholic Academy in Wichita.
“I created the program to help close the achievement gap in the United States,” he said. “I thought it was a big problem for me to solve and I’m passionate about solving it. I knew I would spend my time being devoted to these kids because it was such a problem close to my heart.”
That passion is now spreading across the United States.
Vu participated in a business leadership camp over the summer at Yale University where he pitched his idea for a nationwide program. Other camp participants have since contacted him and are coordinating chapters in California, Las Vegas, Chicago, and Lenexa, Kansas, as well at Bishop Carroll Catholic High School in Wichita.
“The kids we help are always very thankful,” he said. “They make you feel happy and you feel you’re making a big difference in the world.”
Although Vu will graduate from KMC in May, Reach Out will continue doing so. He has established a leadership team designed to sustain the tutoring work at Holy Savior.
“I’ll be checking with every chapter to make sure they have a leadership team set up for the next year to make sure their Reach Out program keeps on living for as long as it can,” he said. “I hope it becomes permanent!”
Dr. Delia Shropshire, principal of Holy Savior, said Vu and the other volunteers have embraced the spirit of the convocation of Catholic leaders held this summer, which was based on Pope Francis’ Joy of the Gospel.
“Pope Francis urges us as church to be a ‘field hospital’ and to be missionary disciples,” she said. “An Vu and his team are a great testimony in meeting students’ needs in stewardship of spiritual and academic gifts.”

Diocesan news, October 20, 2017

Bishop Kemme’s calendar
Here is Bishop Carl A. Kemme’s calendar for the next month.
Oct. 15-24: Holy Land Pilgrimage with the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem
Oct. 26: Evening with Parents of Seminarians, Vespers and Dinner
Oct. 27: Curia Day of Recollection
Oct. 28-29: Parish Pastoral visit to St. Patrick in Parsons
Oct. 29: Listening session at St. Patrick in Parsons at 1 p.m.
Oct. 30-31: Holy Trinity Seminary visit
Nov. 1-2: Mundelein Seminary visit
Nov. 4-5: Parish Pastoral visit to St. Mary’s in Derby
Nov. 5: Listening session at St. Mary’s in Derby, 1:30 p.m.
Nov. 7: Evening with prospective seminarians, 6:30 p.m.
Nov. 8: Confirmation Mass at Mother of God Parish, Oswego, 6:30 p.m.
Nov. 9-11: Seminary visit to Mt. St. Mary in Emmitsburg, Maryland
Nov. 11-16: United States Catholic Conference of Bishops General Assembly in Baltimore
Nov. 16-17: National Catholic Youth Conference in Indianapolis
Nov. 18: Listening Session at Our Lady of Lourdes in Pittsburg, 10 a.m.
Nov. 18-17: Parish Pastoral visit to St. John in Clonmel

Bishop’s listening session schedule
Here are the dates, times, and locations for the remainder of Bishop Kemme’s listening sessions:
• Oct. 27: Session for Diocesan Curia only
• Oct. 29: St. Patrick Parish, Parsons, 1 p.m.
• Nov. 5: St. Mary Parish, Derby, 1:30 p.m.
• Nov. 18: 10 a.m., Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Pittsburg
To register, call Jessica Wojenski at 316-269-3900 or email her at

Bishop to celebrate Mass in Latin at Cathedral on Sunday, Dec. 3
Bishop Carl A. Kemme will celebrate the Ordinary Form of the Mass in Latin, at 10 a.m., Sunday, Dec. 3, in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita.
Many of the traditional Latin chants will be used during the liturgy, which will be celebrated on the first Sunday of Advent. The readings and homily will be in English while the Eucharistic Prayer and other Mass parts will be prayed in Latin.
“I have wanted to offer the Ordinary Form of the Mass in Latin for some time so as to preserve the church’s rich liturgical heritage,” Bishop Kemme said.
“The Cathedral choir will be of great help in supporting us in singing the time honored chants. The Second Vatican Council envisioned a liturgy that would be available in the vernacular, but it also encouraged the preservation of Latin. I hope many will be inspired by this liturgical experience.”
Many of the young adults who have participated in the listening sessions Bishop Kemme is hosting until the end of November have said the Mass seems to have lost a sense of sacredness, something that may be more apparent in the Latin Mass.
Sister John Patrick Beckius said the Novus Ordo, or the ordinary form of the Mass, is the same Mass that is usually celebrated in the Diocese of Wichita – except many parts will be said in Latin.
“Latin has a pride of place in the church,” she said. “It’s our heritage. Largely, it’s the language of the church.”
Sr. John Patrick, the director of the diocesan Office of Worship, said another liturgy, the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, is always in Latin.
The faithful of the diocese are invited to the Mass Dec. 3. Worship aids will be available for the responses and the music.

Catholic Care Center earns sixth ‘Excellence in Care’ distinction
WICHITA – The Catholic Care Center recently received the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s “Excellence in Care Dementia Care Program of Distinction.”
It is the sixth time the center has met the national standards. Dementia care settings are eligible to achieve the status after participating in an extensive evaluation of staff, procedures, and environment, ensuring best practices in dementia care.
Molly Fogel, the foundation’s director of Educational and Social Services, said: “The Catholic Care Center exemplifies the qualities AFA looks for in awarding EIC distinction: an educated staff, safe environment, and ability to focus on the unique and individualized needs of each individual living with the illness.”

Catholic Care Center’s Holiday Market Dec. 1
WICHITA – The Catholic Care Center is hosting its 5th annual Holiday Market from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, Dec. 1.
Vendors and food trucks are being sought to be a part of the event. Those interested may call Jennifer at 316-771-6593.

Mission trip to Haiti still needs volunteers
Eleven more volunteers are needed for a mission trip to Haiti sponsored by Food For the Poor. Father Sherman Orr will lead the trip over spring break March 19-23.
The hands-on ministry includes activities with school children, working in a warehouse distributing rice, beans, and other supplies to families, feeding hot meals to hundreds of people, and visiting the sick in a hospital.
All adults over the age of 18 are welcome to participate. The trip will be coordinated and conducted by an experienced tour leader and, where necessary, a translator.
According to Food For the Poor, college students are eligible for one hour of college credit by participating over spring break.
A $100 non-refundable deposit is required. The total land cost of the trip is $1,150, and does not include domestic and international airfare, which will be determined in December.
For more information and to sign up contact Sharon Witzell, program coordinator of Senior Adult Ministry at 316-685-5240 or

Patriotic rosary at Cathedral Nov. 9
The diocesan office of Senior Adult Ministries and Marriage and Family Life will lead a patriotic rosary at 10 a.m. Thursday Nov. 9, in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Wichita.
Everyone is invited to pray. Coffee will be served at 9:30 a.m.
Participants will pray for veterans, members of the military, the president, leaders of our country, and the consecration of our nation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Webster new NFP master teacher
Chrissa Webster of Towanda recently completed the practicum requirements to become a certified master teacher of the Ovulation Method for Family of the Americas.
She is a member of St. James Parish in Augusta.
Those interested in learning more about natural family planning may visit

Bishop Kemme to lead trip to South America
Bishop Carl A. Kemme will lead a trip to South America Jan. 29-Feb. 8.
The trip, “a walk in the footsteps of Pope Francis,” will include stops in Lima and Machu Picchu, Peru; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The trip is a benefit for the Guadalupe Clinic, a diocesan health ministry. Participants will see the shrines of South America, walk in the footsteps of Pope Francis, and have the opportunity to have Mass every day with the bishop.
The trip includes airfare from anywhere in the country, daily Mass, four- or five-star hotels, all ground transportation, tour guides, entry into all sites, and all breakfasts and dinners.
The cost is $3,850 per person, of which $250 is a tax-deductible donation to the Guadalupe Clinic. For a reservation or more information, call (508) 340-9370 or email

D. of I. annual game, card party today
The St. Augustine Circle 235 Daughters of Isabella will host their 2017 Fall Game and Card Party today at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 3203 W. 13th St. in Wichita.
The event, which includes a light lunch and door prizes, will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. and from 6 to 9 p.m.
The cost is a $10 donation.

Fr. Max Biltz leading pilgrimage June 1-10
Father Maximilian Biltz is planning to lead a pilgrimage to Spain June 1-10.
Those interested in accompanying him to the many holy sites and shrines from Lisbon to Barcelona may call 855-842-8001 or visit

Medical bioethics conference Oct. 26-27
The 2nd Cleveland Divine Mercy Medicine, Bioethics & Spirituality Conference will be held Oct. 26-27 at St. Albert the Great Church in North Royalton, Ohio, near Cleveland.
The target audience includes all interested in healthcare and bioethical principles as well as the role of spirituality in medical care. Continuing medical education credits and CEUs will be available.
For more information, visit or call 800-462-7426.

Caregiver education event Nov. 9 at CCC
WICHITA – The Catholic Care Center is hosting its annual Caregiver Education Event from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 9.
The title of this year’s event is “Home Safe Home: creating a safe and stimulating environment for people with dementia.”
Attendees will learn about changes that can make in a home, exercises that help promote strength and safety, activities designed to stimulate, and why home safety is important when caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
To register call Jennifer at 316-771-6593.

Seminarian talks about the priesthood
Seminarian Matthew Glazier talks about his seminary experience in a brief video now available at the diocesan Vocations Office page:
He is a member of St. Teresa of Avila Parish and lives in Madison.

Several ‘last chance’ Masses now available
There are now several late Sunday Masses in Wichita, including two in Spanish, for those who hit the snooze button one too many times:
5 p.m.: Holy Savior
5:15 p.m.: Blessed Sacrament
6 p.m.: St. Elizabeth Ann Seton; St. Anne, en español
6:30 p.m.: Our Lady of Perpetual Help, en español
7 p.m.: St. Paul, WSU; St. Patrick, en español
9 p.m.: St. Paul, WSU

Please remember our priests in your prayers
The Diocese of Wichita has a necrology, a listing of our deceased priests of the diocese online.
The necrology is arranged by months and includes the names of priests who died that month.
The faithful are invited to visit the page at and clicking on “Find A Parish.” The “Necrology” link is on the right side of the parish listing home page.

Jesus is always waiting on the other side of the confessional

Anyone who has heard “Your sins are forgiven.” from the other side of a confessional screen has experienced the feeling of freedom from an act that was weighing on their minds and enslaving their souls.
In this second of two articles about suggestions from the confessional by priests of the Diocese of Wichita, we continue with thoughts about how to break the bonds of sin – especially mortal sin.
To experience that freedom, Father David Lies says, penitents should avoid being vague regarding their mortal sins.
Saying “I was impure,” is not specific enough, he said, adding that the priest also doesn’t want too much information, just enough to be able to respond appropriately.
Father Lies suggested answering the following questions about that kind of sin: Was the penitent impure physically with another person, or by themselves? Were they impure in thought? Or in what they viewed?
By being more specific, he said, penitents take responsibility for their sins.
“We all have an innate fear of getting into trouble, so we are tempted to use vague language or euphemisms to avoid admitting the extent of our complicity,” Fr. Lies said. “However, when we do take responsibility for our sins, we open ourselves up even more to God’s love and mercy.
Father Ben Sawyer suggested starting with the most grievous sins first. “It’s all downhill from there!”
Don’t worry about what the priest will think about you, says Father Drew Hoffman.
“Be honest!” he said. “I’ve never been shocked or surprised by a sin in the confessional. Actually, I’m overjoyed when someone is totally honest about their sins and struggles, because I know the Lord is present and active in this persons life.”
St. Jerome said a doctor can’t heal what the patient won’t tell him about, he said. “So be honest with yourself and with the Lord – and let God work!”
Father Mike Klagg reminds the faithful that confession before a Mass is not a counseling session and recommended a penitent make an appointment for what might be a long confession.
“Confession is immensely profound,” he said, “but is also meant to be rather simple.”
Father Stephen Thapwa summed up the sacrament by saying: “When God forgives, God forgets. Confession makes us ‘born again’ Christians.”
Whatever it is keeping you from the confessional, says Father Andrew Bergkamp, it’s not worth it.
“Accept the gift of reconciliation from Christ who desires for you to receive it,” he said.
Father Michael Peltzer said going to confession is like eating spinach. “Most of us don’t like it, but we find how really good it is for us.”
The more we go to confession, he added, the more spiritual strength we attain and the more happy we are.
Father Clay Kimbro said priests don’t judge penitents but see their presence in the confessional as a sincere sign that they love God deeply and want to be more like Christ.
“This sacrament is about a relationship with him who loves us,” he said. “Confession is about letting yourself be loved by God, something many of us are afraid to do.”
Father Jarrod Lies reminds penitents that a serious sin is not necessarily a mortal sin. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, in paragraph 1735, states that “ignorance, inadvertence, duress, fear, habit, inordinate attachments, and other psychological or social factors” can keep a sin from being mortal, he wrote.
“Our God is a merciful God,” Fr. Lies said. “He knows that we struggle. He is not out to catch us in our sin. He’s out to heal us and give us strength.”
He added that, in addition to confession, the penitent may want to seek help through spiritual direction or professional counseling.
Father Leon Kerschen said he tells penitents that “although we are unveiling our worse side of who we are. . .they are also revealing their best side, acts of faith, hope, and love. How can I not think the best of them?
Satan wants us to stay away from confession, says Father John Lanzrath.
These are some thoughts Satan uses: “If you were really sorry for that sin, you would stop doing it! You can’t go to confession until you have overcome that sin. Why even bother with confession? You know you will fall again!”
Satan uses shame, embarrassment, despair, and hopelessness, Fr. Lanzrath said. “The weapons Jesus uses are love, mercy, compassion, forgiveness, and understanding.”
Father Mike Maybrier said to verbally confess a sin means you “Name it. Claim it. Give it away.”
“In exchange, God gives us his forgiveness and mercy,” he said.
Father Josh Evans said God hates sin because it burdens and enslaves us to ourselves and to unhealthy desires.
Sin separates us from God, he said, “It’s our responsibility to root it out of our lives – with the grace of God.”
Father Evans reminds the faithful that priests are sinners, too. “So often I catch myself saying, ‘Oh, been there, done that!’”
He said he is edified by the holiness of the confessions he hears. “Every saint has a past,” Father Evans said, “and every sinner has a future!”
Father Jacob Carlin reminds penitents that the priest will help anyone struggling to confess.
“Although it may appease our conscience, the back story to our sins is not necessary,” he said. “We need only confess our sorrow for our sins and try not to make excuses for what we have done, just resolve to do better.”
He added that those in the confessional should focus on their own sins, not those of their spouse or other family members.
Father Jason Borkenhagen, writing from Rome, used a term several times in his reply: “Be not afraid!”
“You’re not going to say anything to the priest that will shock him” he said. “Confession is the tribunal of mercy.”
Give your sins over to Jesus, he said. Don’t keep any of your mortal sins, “give them over to the merciful heart of Jesus.”
Jesus will replace those sins with his grace, Father Borkenhagen added.
Father Pat York, who is currently assigned to Conception Seminary, said confession was instituted by Christ to give us grace.
“It isn’t a mere suggestion but an obligation,” he said. “It is an obligation that is rooted in charity, grace, and love!”
Confession is good for the soul and for the psyche, Father York added.
“It frees us from our guilt, it gives us peace of mind, it is curative of what may very much keep us from being that son and daughter that we are called to be – the best image of ourselves.”

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