From the Pastor – March 12, 2017




To help prepare for confessing our sins: at our Lenten Penance Service which is on Wednesday, April 5 – or on a Saturday at 4 PM – or by appointment with a Priest, here’s my reflection on the second of two versions of the revised Mass orations ‘For the Forgiveness of Sins.’ From now until our Lenten Penance Service
on Wednesday, April 5, I will offer guidance, advice and encouragement to help you make a good Confession before Easter.


Collect – For the Forgiveness of Sins – B


Almighty and most gentle God, who brought forth from the rock a fountain of living water

for your thirsty people, bring forth, we pray,

from the hardness of our heart, tears of sorrow,

that we may lament our sins and

merit forgiveness from your mercy.

Through our Lord … for ever and ever. Amen.


WATER FROM THE ROCK. As Israel made her 40-year-journey through the desert from Egypt, that land of slavery and death, to the Promised Land, they experienced life’s extremes: great successes and horrific failures; deep abiding faith and sinful bouts of idolatry, despair and wanton revelry. Naturally, their ‘desert days’ were times of dryness and dire need, discomfort and distraction, which hardened their minds and hearts, making them obstinate and negative, bitter and angry – just as challenging and times of testing often do to us.


Yet no matter how far she strayed, God always forgave and helped her, graced and loved her. God even miraculously supplied water from the rock, bread from the heavens, and other foods to strengthen and sustain her … and God does the same for us. And in this oration’s imagery we find the remedy for all that ails us.


For it was not by accident or ‘crucifixion custom’ that a soldier pierced our Lord’s side with a lance as He slept in Death on the Cross, and tore open His Sacred Heart, from which flowed both blood and water. Through the Sacraments
of Baptism
and of Reconciliation,
or Penance, we are washed – and rewashed – in His Blood. In the Sacrament
of Eucharist
we are fed by His Most Sacred Body and Precious Blood, offered on the Cross to atone for our sins.

Prayer over the Offerings – Forgiveness of Sins – B


Look mercifully, O Lord, upon this oblation,

which we offer to your majesty for our sins,

and grant, we pray, that the sacrifice

from which forgiveness springs forth for the

human race may bestow on us the grace of the

Holy Spirit to shed tears for our offenses.

Through our Lord … for ever and ever. Amen.


Again, the abundant mercy and forgiveness that freely flows from Christ’s Sacred Heart, torn open out of love for us, is highlighted – this time as we renew His Sacrifice on the Cross in the Most Holy Eucharist. However, we also need Christ’s Easter evening Gift of the Holy
Spirit: “Then He breathed on them and said, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.'” [John 20:22-23] to receive the grace of reconciliation. For as Saint Paul explains: “The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit itself intercedes with inexpressible groanings.” [Romans 8:26]
It is the Spirit who melts hearts, wells up tears in our eyes, opens minds, prodding us to be reconciled! Will you hear and answer the Spirit’s call to confess?


Prayer after Communion – Forgiveness of Sins – B


May the reverent reception of your

Sacrament, O Lord, lead us to wash away the

stains of our sins with sighs and tears,

and in your generosity grant that the

pardon we seek may have its effect on us.

Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Who has not seen a little child put on a good show, weeping copious tears, begging for forgiveness with no intent of making amends, or learning from his or her mistakes? Yet … do we forgive others when we ask God to forgive us? Are we as merciful as we hope God will be with us? Do we strive to avoid near occasions of sin, do penance, or make amends? Yet even our imperfect contrition does not stop God from forgiving us … again and again! Will you come to Confession to be reconciled?


In His holy Name,




Rev. Thomas J. Serafin, KHS