We are now officially into the Jubilee Year of Mercy. One of the great blessings of being a priest is to encounter with another person this mercy within the sacrament of reconciliation. The spirit was indeed present last Wednesday evening among all the faithful and the priests who celebrated God's mercy at our Advent penance service. In the days ahead, don't be hesitant about encountering long lines at the remaining parish confessional times on Tuesday mornings and Saturday afternoon leading up to Christmas. Fr. Jeremy and myself will both be available on the two remaining Tuesdays and on Saturday the 19th.
In 40 of archdiocesan parishes there have begun special renewal events, called Come Encounter Christ. These evening sessions feature song, prayer and preaching. I encourage you to put some time aside in the following months to attend one. Sessions go from 7-8:30pm. Here are some of the nearby parishes and the dates when they host Come Encounter Christ:
Our Lady of LaSalette January 10-12
Our Lady of Sorrows February 21-21
St. Regis on March 20-22
From the second paragraph of Pope Francis' The Face of Mercy: "We need constantly to contemplate the mystery of mercy. It is a wellspring of joy, serenity, and peace. Our salvation depends on it. Mercy: the word reveals the very mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. Mercy: the ultimate and supreme act by which God comes to meet us. Mercy: the fundamental law that dwells in the heart of every person who looks sincerely into the eyes of his brothers and sisters on the path of life. Mercy: the bridge that connects God and man, opening our hearts to the hope of being loved forever despite our sinfulness."