As much as I disagreed with Archbishop Wuerl’s decision not to take positive action against scandalously pro-abortion Catholic politicians living in Washington, DC, I do have to applaud others of his recent actions, including his first pastoral letter on Confession, including a huge push to make the sacrament more available during Lent. (Link goes to Amy Welborn’s blog.)
In order to highlight both the importance of the sacrament of Penance and its availability especially in the coming Lenten season, every pastor is asked to review the parish confession schedule to ensure the adequate availability of the sacrament of Penance to the faithful. I am also asking the deans to work with the priests of their respective deaneries so that we can provide a series of deanery-wide reconciliation services to which the faithful of the deanery will be invited and at which I will join a large number of our priests in hearing confessions.
In addition, during this Lenten season, beginning with the Wednesday of the first week of Lent until the Wednesday of Holy Week, priests will be available in every church throughout the Archdiocese from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in order to hear confessions.
Wow, that’s big. Every church, every night? To place that kind of burden on the priests of the archdiocese is to make a big statement. The second bit of news (link to Mark Shea’s blog) is more speculative and unconfirmed, but if true might make an even bigger splash. This is from an email to Mark from someone in DC:
I was sick and so, missed mass but my wife reported that Monsignor Parent (St. Peter’s Waldorf, MD) announced that the Bishop has decided that all tabernacles be moved to the center of the altar and that communion will henceforth be given out only by priests and deacons.
As you can see, this is a third-hand report (now fourth-hand) and much could have been garbled in transmission, but again, if true, this is big news.
Update: A reader says in the comments that no one he knows in DC heard anything like that in their parishes and so this must be limited to just the one parish. And keep in mind, I’m not criticizing the legitimate use of Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist, but many people believe that the practice is often abused.
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