From Our Pastor...

Posted on October 12, 2023 in: Pastor

Dear Parishioners:

Our second-grade PSR students are in the process of preparing for the celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation for the first time. I thank their parents and teachers for helping prepare these children for the sacrament.

This sacrament, like all sacraments, is an encounter with our Lord and we are blessed to receive the graces we need to unite our lives with his. When the Church celebrates the sacraments she makes a profession of faith in Jesus Christ, and in this way, she keeps her memory of him alive.

In order to make the sacrament more available here at Ste Genevieve du Bois I am adding a couple more opportunities for the sacrament: on Wednesday’s from 5:30-6:30pm during our Eucharistic adoration and on First Friday’s 6:30-7am. These new times for the Sacrament of Reconciliation will begin on November 3rd. I always find this sacrament to be one of immense joy as it enables those who partake of it to remove the effects of sin and grow ever closer to our Lord. Our God truly is the loving Father!

The Sacrament reminds us that: Because of human weakness Christians ‘turn aside from [their] early love' (see Rev 2:4) and even break off their friendship with God by sinning.

The Lord, therefore, instituted a special sacrament of penance for the pardon of sins committed after baptism, and the Church has faithfully celebrated the sacrament throughout the centuries.

What happens in the Sacrament of Reconciliation?
In the Sacrament of Penance, "the sinner” who by grace of a loving and merciful God embraces the way of penance comes back to the Father who ‘first loved us' (1 Jn 4:19), to Christ who gave himself up for us, and to the Holy Spirit who has been poured out on us abundantly.

What is the role of the priest in the Sacrament of Reconciliation?
According to the Rite of Penance, "the Church exercises the ministry of the sacrament of penance through bishops and priests. By preaching God's word, they call the faithful to conversion; in the name of Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit, they declare and grant the forgiveness of sins. In the exercise of this ministry priests act in communion with the bishop and share in his power and office . . ."

What is the role of the community in the sacrament?
According to the Rite of Penance, "the whole Church, as a priestly people, acts in different ways in the work of reconciliation which has been entrusted to it by the Lord. Not only does the Church call sinners to repentance by preaching the word of God, but it also intercedes for them and helps penitents with maternal care and solicitude to acknowledge and admit their sins and so obtain the mercy of God who alone can forgive sins.

Jesus’ words, “woe to the one through whom [sins] occur,” hold a key of insight for all of us because they have a positive dimension in addition to the explicit negative one. While it is our duty to avoid leading each other astray, we are also called to help one another remain true to the gospel message. Luckily, one does not need to be perfectly holy to help another. Even the lowliest sinner can help the most righteous person when we rely on the Lord.

We often fail to recognize the degree to which our actions affect and influence others. This is especially true in our family life and relationships with the people we spend the most time with. By our actions, we often lead one another astray or closer to heaven.

In my experience, focusing on each other’s welfare more than contemplating our own helps to avoid the notion that we are unworthy as leaders on this journey. By spending less time worrying about whether or not we can do it, we can properly focus on the next step in this moment to care for those around us. This focus fosters an unselfish mindset that reminds us that we are all here to help each other to be better Christians—ultimately, to get each other to heaven!


Msgr. John Shamleffer