Sunday, April 15, 2007
Divine Mercy Sunday
Long before I came to the Holy Ghost the parish has hosted a big Divine Mercy pilgrimage on the Sunday after Easter, now known as Divine Mercy Sunday. This year we did not advertise the event as I have been having difficulty getting help with our regular Sunday Masses and also with finding priests to help with Confessions. Fortunately I happened to speak with Fr Sylvester, a Ugandan priest, this week and he was very happy to come along to help out. After the three morning Massesm and a quick lunch, the devotions began at 2.30 with Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. The Rosary and then the Divine Mercy Chaplet (sung) followed while the priests took up their place in the Confessional. I gave Benediction at 3.45pm and then went back to hearing Confessions while Fr Sylvester celebrated the Mass at 4.00pm. There were easily a couple of hundred people present - not bad for an event we had deliberately not advertised! It was a sung Mass which finished just after 5pm, although it took a while to clear the Church, giving the sacristan just under half an hour to prepare everything for the evening Mass.
We always have lots of Confessions in our parish. Sometimes I think it is a Sacrament more popular with young people, especially young adults, than with some older generations. Of course having two priests helps - it means we can offer the Sacrament every day and at times convenient to the people: a basic rule of marketing is that you have to go to where the punters are! It is a wonderful Sacrament and a very important part of priestly ministry. I always remember with what eloquent simplicity Mother Theresa summed up what happens when she gave us a talk at Seminary: "You enter the confessional a sinner burdened with sin and you leave it a sinner without sin".