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Sunday, 17 April 2011

Old chestnut time: confessions in Holy Week

Priests are allowed to hear confessions during Holy Week; and during the Triduum. Every year, I mention this because of the silly positivistic interpretations of an older version of the Novus Ordo Missal which has now been corrected. See, for example: Let's smash this old chestnut once and for all (and yes, I know it is a coconut in the picture.)

Fr Z, with tremendous patience, has addressed the matter yet again this year: Confessions during the Triduum.

I am on my own in the parish and therefore cannot usually have confessions during Mass (which is permitted - see the link to Fr Z above.) During Holy Week I have the policy of hearing confessions after all services. Monday to Wednesday, we have two Masses each day: usus antiquior and usus recentior with confessions afterwards. there are confessions after the Maundy Thursday Mass, after the Good Friday stations, and after the Liturgy of the Passion, and at the usual times on Saturday. (If you want to come to anything at Blackfen, here is a link to our times of services.)

I estimate that we have more confessions than we would have if we set up a communal penance service: and the advantage is that people who have not been for a while experience the sacramental celebration in its usual context rather than as a one-off celebration that might give the impression that it is not necessary to go again until the next penance service.

Sometimes people are kind enough to sympathise with me, saying that it must be a very busy time. In fact, Palm Sunday is the most exhausting for the solo parish priest because you have to celebrate an extended Liturgy several times. (In Blackfen our usus antiquior blessing, procession, sung Passion and High Mass took two and a half hours this morning.) For the rest of Holy Week, it is actually very relaxing. Nobody has meetings or conferences, so all I have to do is celebrate the Liturgy of the Church. I almost become a monk for a week! BTW I will be attending Tenebrae at St Mary Moorfields in the City on Wednesday at 6.30pm. If you can get to it, I recommend it.
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