Clergy Notes – Sunday, March 26, 2017

At the half-way stage of our Lenten journey the Church gives us this Refreshment or Mothering Sunday, a relaxing of the fast, to help us catch our breath. Today we have flowers on the altar, the vestments are rose-coloured, organ voluntaries are played and simnel cake is served. Next Sunday, Lent 5 or Passion Sunday, the crosses and images will be veiled, the music more solemn, as we prepare to enter into the mystery of the Lord’s Passion and Death, played out in the liturgy and drama of Holy Week.

Each of us will have made our own decision about Lenten discipline and practice, particular ways of self-denial, commitment to prayer or Lenten study, and acts of charity. One such discipline the Church encourages in this season is that of taking time for self-examination and reflection, leading to a renewal of repentance and conversion. In our Anglo-Catholic tradition this often includes the practice of sacramental confession in the presence of a priest.

For some this is a daunting prospect, and it is sometimes viewed as negative, judgmental and punitive. This is not the Church’s intention, nor is it my personal experience. This sacrament is an opportunity to open ourselves to the Lord, just as we are, to let his light shine into our hearts, to allow ourselves to be drawn more deeply into his love. The words of absolution are those of liberation and healing.

Priests will be available on Palm Sunday and Maundy Thursday, or by appointment, for confession or a spiritual conversation. Do not worry if you are unsure what to say or do, we are here to help. Remember that your priests also make use of this sacrament: we too are called to repentance and conversion. The dismissal in the rite uses these words, from which I draw comfort and encouragement: “Go in peace, the Lord has put away all your sins. Please pray for me, for I am a sinner too.” Thank you for your prayers for me.


Father Kevin Hunt