First Sunday of Lent

March 9, 2019 Column Father De Celles

NEW! Virginia March for Life on April 3: Mark Your Calendars. Thanks be to God, the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) now has a majority of solid pro-life justices, and it seems very likely that sometime in the next few years the Court will reverse, in whole or in part, its 1973 “right to abort” decision in Roe vs. Wade. As the pro-abortion forces face this probability, they recognize that one likely result of a SCOTUS reversal will be to return the issue to the individual state governments to deal with. This is why we’ve seen such a flurry of attempts by state legislatures to create broad pro-abortion rights or overturn state restrictions on abortion, for example, consider the New York law that passed a few weeks ago, and the recently Virginia bill proposed by Springfield’s own State Delegate Kathy Tran.
To kick-off our counter effort, several pro-life groups have joined forces to organize the first ever Virginia March for Life, at the State Capitol building in Richmond on April 3. There will be a Rally at the Capitol at 11am, with the March around the Capitol square at noon.
St. Raymond’s will be taking 2 buses down for the March. Sign Up sheets are in the narthex. Please join us. For more information contact the office.

Lenten Series and Holy Hour. When I was thinking about my topic for this year’s series, “The Agony in the Garden,” and Jesus’ question to His apostles in the Garden came to mind: “Could you not keep watch for one hour with Me?” So it occurred to me to give my talks in the church during a Holy Hour of Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, so we could “watch for one hour” in prayer and meditation with the Lord. We’ll begin with Exposition, then I’ll give a half-hour talk, followed by praying the Rosary and then Benediction.
Please join us every Thursday during Lent, beginning this Thursday, March 14, and continuing through April 11, from 7pm to 8pm. If you’ve never been to a Holy Hour or to one of the Lenten Series, please come—you’ll be glad you did. See the insert in this bulletin.

Confessions Every Day in Lent. Fundamental to a fruitful observance of Lent is the reception of the Sacrament of Penance (also called “Confession” or “Reconciliation”). I am very happy to say that you can go to confession at St. Raymond’s every day during Lent. So, please: go to confession!
But, I remind you that Sunday morning is not the best time to go to confession, since the lines are long, and only one priest is hearing confession and he normally stops once Mass begins. Moreover, Sunday confession times are provided not as a mere convenience but mainly to meet the real needs of those who truly cannot confess on other days or are otherwise in need of the sacrament. So, for example, when there is a line on Sundays, this would not normally be the time for: “devotional” confessions, or families going to their regular monthly confession together, or for little children to go to confession. This is just general guidance, but use your good judgment. And if no one is in line, go to confession.
Don’t get me wrong: we welcome all confessions, but some folks need Sunday morning times more than others. So, consider this in charity…

Making a Good Confession. A few years ago I published a small purple pamphlet called “Making a Good Confession: A Brief Examination of Conscience and Guide to Going to Confession.” Copies of this pamphlet can be found by all the doors of the church and near the confessionals. I hope you will find it helpful in preparing for and making a good confession. Below follows the introduction to that pamphlet. Maybe it will lead you to grab the pamphlet and read the rest of it….

A Brief Examination of Conscience
and Guide to Going to Confession

(Parents: consider if this is inappropriate for your children)

How do we make a “good Confession”? We begin by prayerfully, and with honesty and humility, looking at our lives to recognize the sins we’ve committed since our last Confession, i.e., we make “an examination of conscience.” In particular, we need to look for mortal sins, i.e., sins that involve all three of the following criteria: 1) grave matter, 2) full knowledge of the sinful character of the act, and 3) complete consent. If any one of these is lacking it is not a “mortal sin,” but may be a “venial sin.”
“Grave matter” means the act involves some very serious moral evil, found either in 1) the act itself or 2) the intention behind the act. Grave matter can be difficult to identify, but not always.
Note that some sinful acts are grave matter when they involve circumstances that are serious or very important, but are not grave matter if they involve only small or trivial things. These acts that can be either grave or not are said to “admit of parvity” (smallness). Many of the sins listed below would “admit of parvity,” unless the word “serious” accurately describes them. For example, a lie is always a sin, but lying under oath is grave matter while lying about whether you like someone’s outfit is not grave matter.
Also, in Confession you must distinguish the “kind” of mortal sin committed: be clear about what the sin was, but avoid graphic or long explanations. So it is not enough to merely say “I had bad thoughts” or “I acted inappropriately,” rather one should more specific, e.g. “I had lustful thoughts,” etc.
You must also give the number of times you committed particular mortal sins. Sometimes this is very difficult or even impossible to remember, in which case, try your best give the priest some idea of the frequency or number; e.g., “at least once a month for several years,” etc.
Besides mortal sins, we should also consider confessing (but are not required to confess) vices (sinful habits) or other venial sins that are particularly problematic.


This brief examination of conscience is not all inclusive or exhaustive, but is a useful tool to help you prepare for Confession. Remember, as you go through your examination consider if any of your sins are mortal. Also, remember to confess how many times you committed particular mortal sins.
Note, to help you identify mortal sins, sins that always involve grave matter are marked with an “A” and sins that very often or usually involve grave matter (so should be considered very carefully) are marked with an “O/U”. This does not mean that sins not marked never involve grave matter, as discussed above.
[The pamphlet then continues with a detailed review of each of the 10 Commandments, and a detailed “how-to” of what to say and do in the confessional. Happy reading!]

Oremus pro invicem. Fr. De Celles