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 Post subject: Parish Penance Service?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 8:58 am 
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Handmaids of the Lord
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Ok, so I saw in my parish bulletin that they were going to have a parish penence service? What is it? What happens at it? Does it substitute for normal one on one confession?? Let me know is I am asking the wrong questions!

Thanks,

Candace :)


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 Post subject: Re: Parish Penance Service?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 9:11 am 
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Handmaids of the Lord
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A penance service should include the opportunity for Confession with a priest. It does not substitute for individual Confession.

I've never been to a penance service, but I can tell you what I've heard about them. A penance service generally has a lot of priests, more than just your one or two parish priests. This is so more individual Confessions can be heard in a shorter period of time. Usually there will be Scripture readings that have to do with repentance, mercy, reconciliation, or something similar. There may be a talk by the priest or deacon. There may be someone who will lead people through an examination of conscience--but IMO you should still prepare for your Confession beforehand. There may be communal prayers.

Now, I have heard that at some penance services, people are instructed to confess only one or two sins or to confess bad habits instead of sins. You should not do this. We must confess all of our mortal sins since our last Confession and the number of times we committed them.

Basically, it's like normal Confession, except there are more people, more priests, and there's a service that's geared toward Confession and Reconciliation.

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"Take it as a certain sign that your charity is not genuine if your words, no matter how true, are not charitable." --St Francis de Sales

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 Post subject: Re: Parish Penance Service?
PostPosted: Mon Dec 07, 2009 1:11 pm 
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Sometimes, the communal prayers can substitute for those during confession, such as the act of contrition (but the communal portion should never substitute for the confession itself, which must always be done individually except in cases of extreme and dire emergency). This is usually to save time, so that each person does not have to say the act of contrition separately during individual confessions. There may be a communal penance, as well; for example, at my parish's Lenten penance service, there was a huge bowl with slips of paper in it, and on each slip of paper was the name of one of our diocese's seminarians, deacons, and ordinandi. All of the priests had penitents choose a slip and pray for the person named throughout that week. This is less common, in my experience, than simply doing the act of contrition communally.

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 Post subject: Re: Parish Penance Service?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 7:03 am 
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Jedi Master
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The Rite of Penance provides for four different forms of a penance celebration. 1. Individual confession, which is the type most people are familiar with. 2. General absolution, which can be given in rare emergencies and which should be followed by individual confession if and when that becomes possible. 3. NON-sacramental communal penance services, which are rare, but which might occur in the absence of priests or when there is need for a group to repent. And 4. Sacramental communal penance services. These are typically held in parishes during Advent and Lent.

In a sacramental communal penance service, there is a liturgy of the word, perhaps a brief reflection given by a priest, usually a communal examination of conscience, and sometimes a "default" penance assigned to everyone (which can be modified by the individual priest to whom the person goes to confession). The benefits of a communal penance service are these: 1. It makes clear that we are all sinners. 2. It makes clear that all sins are offenses to God and to the people of God. 3. Several priests can assemble at such services and parishioners can therefore go to "strange priests" without traveling to a different parish. And 4. Individual confessions take less time since everyone has already prayed the Act of Contrition and perhaps has received a penance already. Individual confession is absolutely necessary for validity.

In many areas, these communal penance services are very popular, and in some areas they are not popular at all. Usually, there is a bit of catechesis needed in parish bulletins or from the pulpit to help people understand what is meant by "communal penance services." In some counties or parts of dioceses, the area priests actually do a sort of "road trip" - they agree to be at St. Peter's for their service on Monday, at St. Paul's on Tuesday, at St. John's on Wednesday, St. James on Thursday, etc. In those areas, the priests find that this is more productive than each of them sitting in their own parish's confessional for four consecutive nights.


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 Post subject: Re: Parish Penance Service?
PostPosted: Tue Dec 08, 2009 7:09 am 
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Handmaids of the Lord
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matteo d'basio wrote:
3. Several priests can assemble at such services and parishioners can therefore go to "strange priests" without traveling to a different parish.
We had a visiting priest celebrate Mass last Tuesday when the normal priest was away, and he gave this brief announcement at the end of Mass: "This is just a reminder that Confessions will be heard this afternoon. So you all know, I will be the one in the box today, so I strongly urge all of you to take advantage of a transient priest. I know I do." :)

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Quid retribuam Domino pro omnibus quæ retribuit mihi?

"Take it as a certain sign that your charity is not genuine if your words, no matter how true, are not charitable." --St Francis de Sales

"The thing is--to be ready to die: and is there one of us who would quite like to die, doing as little for God as we are doing now?" --Fr Faber


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