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Evansville, Indiana
January 23, 1998     The Message
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January 23, 1998

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23, 1998 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 13 A baby boomer's questions about confession By FATHER JOHN DIETZEN Catholic News Service Uon: I am 40 years old and during Advent . my first attempt at the sacrament of reconcilia- as an infant and made my first had little involvement with the Sacraments after that. t my wedding the priest informed 0 go to confession. I had no idea what to in addition believed at the time, from my I only needed to go to God for also Catholic, never told me any- either. Bible group I confessing our sins, I felt the urging me to make the necessary steps to the last weekend of Advent, I went to I couldn't remember anything I so I didn't confess anything in particu- I absolved of all sins prior to go back with some sort of list in my hand? Is there any literature out there to help me understand confession better? Please answer. I would like to go again possibly during Lent. (Ohio) Answer: I quote your letter at some length because many "boomer generation" Catholics have experiences much like yours. First, I'm happy you believe this sacrament is important for you. It can be the source of enormous spiritual benefits in our lives. The simplest and most honest advice I can give is this. Either make an appointment with a priest for confession (many Catholics do this today), or go dur- ing a regular confession schedule at your parish, tell the priest just what you told me and ask him to help you. In spite of our trepidation, it really is not that complicated or difficult. And there's no need to make a list. If you give some thought to it beforehand, any sins so serious that they need to be confessed will quickly come to mind. By far most priests will just be happy you came, trust that your desire for forgiveness and doing good have brought you there, and guide you gently through this experience of God's mercy in your life. It is essential, by the way, to remember what I just said. The focus of the sacrament of penance is not on me or my sins, but on the faithful tenderness and compassion of God, who desperately desires that we grow in awareness of his presence and power in us. Whatever we have done, good or bad, is past. It is part of our history, and not even God can change that. Thus, it is also valuable to keep in mind that, while we place our sins in God's hands for forgive- ness, the grace, love, life and strength of reconcilia- tion is to equip us to turn our lives for the better from here on. The church's Rite of Penance (7, 13) recommends that this sacrament be celebrated "frequently," espe- cially during the season of Lent. Thus, several times a year, perhaps including Advent as another appropri- ate occasion, would be good. Finally, next time try to avoid the last week of Advent or of Lent. Because of larger numbers, priests sometimes feel pressured to hurry confessions along more than they otherwise would like. You can find lots of books or pamphlets to read, and that's good. But the important thing is just to do it. A free brochure answering questions Catholics ask about the sacrament of penance is available by sending a stamped self-addressed envelope to Father John Dietzen, Holy Trinity Church, 704 N. Main St., Bloomington, Ill. 61701. Questions for this column should be sent to Father Dietzen at the same address or to this Catholic paper. requested 'toward a Global Ethic' submit works for an exhibit in New Harmony, on the theme Toward a Global Ethic," according to Father Earl Rohleder, Angels Church. There is no entrance fee. states, in part, "The World is in agony. Peace eludes us. But this ... a common set of core values is found in the teachings and that these form the basis of a global ethic. This truth is already yet to be lived in heart and action." the general public will be invited to attend the event, which artists" gathering May I and concludes with an interfaith service or to find out more information about the declaration, con- (812) 682-4224 or 423-5209. 'The Steward's Way' diocesan director of the Office of Stewardship and Devel- opment and a contributing columnist to the Message, will be available to sign his first book, "The Steward's Way," at the Cornerstone Catholic Books and Gifts store, 4671 Bayard Park Drive, Evansville, on Saturday, Jan. 31, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The book is a collection of 50 articles and essays about Christian stewardship, published by Sheed and Ward. ]he publisher describes it as "a useful book for the pas- tor looking for insights and inspiration for homilies, for a religious educator searching for helpful items and thought to spark classroom discussion and projects, for members of diocesan and parish stewardship commit- tees.., and for average Catholics looking for support and encouragement for their personal journey toward a total stewardship way of life." Copies of the book, at $13.95, may be purchased at the or by calling Sheed and Ward at (800) 333-7373. Planning professionals available Model of Natural Family Planning shows the method to to Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Evansville. contact Maureen Duhn, R.N., in Evansville at (812) 485- in Owensville at (812) 485-4110; Dr. J.R. Hoffman in Evans- Rose Hoffrnan in Evansville, (812) 479-1178; Soozi Scheller, Grant application deadline nears Students who want to attend Mater Dei or Memorial High Schools in Evansville may be eligible for tuition grants-in-aid. Applications are available at the schools and at parishes and schools in the Evansville area. Deadline for submission to the Catholic Education Foundation is Jan. 2Z : Dates of note Pope John Paul II visits Cuba Jan. 21-25. The event is expected to draw major media attention from newspapers, news magazines and television networks. Catholic Schools Week is Jan. 26-Feb. 1. Events are planned at many schools in the Diocese of Evansville. Feb. 1 is the World Day for Consecrated Life. This celebration was called for by Pope John Paul II to highlight the role of con,crated persons  members of reli- gious or secular institutes  in the life of the Church Subscriptions to the Message are now being accepted. Message Sunday is observed this weekend, Jan. 24 and 25. Most current subscriptions expire with the Feb. 28 issue. The Big Bingo Spectacular, a benefit for Evansville Catholic high schools, is moving to the spring, and will be held Saturda); March 21 at the Holiday Inn Air- port. An Oriental Rug Bazaar is planned at the Catholic Center, April 26 to May 4, to benefit Catholic schools. The Mater Dei and Memorial Auction and Cash Bonanza is moving to the fall, Sept. 19 at the Holiday Inn Airport. Volunteers are needed for all Catholic school benefit events; contact Glenda Ossenberg at (812) 424-5536. Interfaith Calendars available Interfaith Calendars, listing holy days for Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim and many others of the world's great religions, are available at the diocesan office of communication, (812) 424-5536 or toll-free in Indiana, (800) 631-1734. The 1998 calendar includes January 1999, and is available for $15, which includes shipping and handling) Media Center hours adjusted New hours for the Media Center at the Catholic Center are noon to 5 p.m., Mon- day through Friday. The change in hours followed the announcement that Mary- lou Ulrich, who completed 20 years in the Media Center has decided to pursue other interests and to spend more time with her family. All You Care To Eat Buffet Dining BANQUET ROOMS AVAILABLE . PRE-ARRANGED AMISH TOURS " FLEA MARKET EVERY TUES. & WED. .... 486-3977 Browse The Village Shops t Off Hwy. 50 Every Monday Seniors receive 15=/. o.1 Qntgornery, IN X II i [ ii i I ii i i /11 I i ii I I "Where customers send their friendsl" J Open mghtly til 9 p.m. Ul00"lheP & Sens J OLD US 231 SOUTH jAR, IN 482-2222 J l'800"937"USA1 i iiii [i [i i i tl ii