Pope Francis has asked that we make Lent, in this Jubilee Year of Mercy, a special time to celebrate and experience God’s mercy by receiving the sacrament of Reconciliation. On countless occasions he has reminded us that God never tires of forgiving, it is we who tire of asking him for forgiveness!
In a recently published book THE NAME OF GOD IS MERCY Pope Francis was asked: ‘You once said that the confessional should not be a “dry cleaner.” What did you mean by that?’
He answered: “It was an example; an image to explain the mistake of those who believe that sin is a strain, only a stain, something that you can have dry-cleaned so that everything goes back to normal. The way you take a jacket or dress to have a stain removed: you put it in the wash and that’s it. But sin is more than a stain. Sin is a wound; it needs to be treated, healed.”
In response to his plea, a number of events have been arranged in the Deanery to encourage you to attend the field hospital of the Spirit, the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
This Saturday, 27th February, the Mercy Bus will be in Blackburn, parked up (with permission!) from 11am until 4pm on King William Street, opposite the Town Hall. Young volunteers will be on hand to explain to passers-by what the bus is all about. Priests will be on hand to respond to requests for a blessing or Confession (Reconciliation). Some parishioners will remember that Fr Frankie spoke of this and his picture with the Pope and the bus at the recent parish Jimmy Cricket evening. So, do come along if only out of curiosity!
Then on Tuesday 1st March at 7.30pm in St Albans, Blackburn, there will be a special Deanery Lenten Mass to celebrate the Year of Mercy. From 7pm onwards and throughout the evening a number of priests will be available for Reconciliation (Confession). Fr Frankie will preach at the Mass.
On Tuesday 15th March in St Michael and John’s at 6.30pm there will be a Service of Reconciliation at which our Clitheroe and Dunsop Bridge First Communion children will make their First Confessions.
Parishioners are also welcome to celebrate the sacrament with Fr Wareing, Fr Kevin or me.
The following day, Wednesday 16th Fr Kevin and I shall be in St Mary’s Sabden where the Service will begin at 6pm.
In St Michael and John’s the usual Saturday morning Confessions will continue from 11 until 11.45am and on Friday evenings during the Stations of the Cross at 7.30pm.
I leave the last word to Pope Francis: “God is faithful. His mercy will always be greater than any sin; no one can put a limit on the love of the all-forgiving God. We should only be conscious of our need, be honest with ourselves, and not simply lick our wounds.”