St Saviour’s Church in Dublin saw long queues for confession as preparation for public Masses continue, Fr Conor McDonough OP has told The Irish Catholic.
“The attendance has been really impressive, with the (socially distanced!) queue sometimes stretching well up the street,” said Fr McDonough. “It’s not just Penney’s that’s drawing the crowds, the Lord is drawing many to himself too.”
Confessions continued throughout lockdown at St Saviour’s, held in a makeshift confessional.
“We managed to find a way to hear confessions safely, transforming a porch with a large door onto the street into a confessional, with adequate separation between priest and penitent,” said Fr McDonough.
“The only difficulty has been the loud noise of the Luas interrupting the sacrament!”
Fr McDonough continued, saying that Confession is “immensely important” both for practicing Catholics and those returning to the Church.
“If we’ve separated ourselves from the Body of Christ,” said Fr McDonough, “it’s through confession that we’re re-integrated, as living members of that Body, and in the Eucharist we celebrate and deepen that life-giving relationship.
“If, in our post-lockdown pastoral plans, we focus exclusively on the celebration of the Eucharist, we risk leaving out an important stage in this return.
“I’m thinking of the example of Blessed Charles de Foucauld, due to be canonised in the autumn,” he continued.
“The effect of experiencing the mercy of Christ in confession and union with Christ in Communion was transformative – from that moment Charles wanted to give himself entirely for God.”
Fr McDonough added that it was a joy to see the faces of his congregation and that everyone is excited for the return to Mass.
“We’re all immensely excited for the return to celebrating the Eucharist together,” he said. “No shop, of course, offers these people this great free gift…Christ in the Eucharist, containing in himself every pleasure.
“That’s what has everyone so excited about getting back to Mass!”