Oh, Dearest Mother, Sweetest Virgin of Altagracia, our Patroness. You are our Advocate and to you we recommend our needs. You are our Teacher and like disciples we come to learn from the example of your holy life. You are our Mother, and like children, we come to offer you all of the love of our hearts. Receive, dearest Mother, our offerings and listen attentively to our supplications. Amen.

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Posted: March 10 2008 at 5:05pm | IP Logged Quote Willa

I hope you will bear with me as I try to write this out, because it's a bit difficult.   I am a convert to Catholicism, as of 18 years now, and confession was actually one of the great things that convinced me to convert. While I don't love going to confession, I love the Sacrament, if you see what I mean.   As a Protestant child I ran myself ragged wondering if my sins were REALLY forgiven when I repented, if I was TRULY contrite, etc.   Confession is a great grace and takes all this worry away.   

So here is the problem:

We live 60 miles out of town, and our local mass is a vigil Saturday mass at a "station" Church. That is, our parish is centered in town, and our priest travels up here or sends someone up to say Mass once a week.

It has always been difficult to get to confession regularly where we live.   In theory the priest comes early to hear confessions, but in practice he usually doesn't get there till a few minutes before Mass starts especially during the snowy winter months.    It is a nondenominational chapel so the only place to hear confessions is the "cry room" where everyone is going in and out to do various things in readiness for Mass.   I used to occasionally go to confession there, but once just as I started someone cleared his throat loudly in the attic and came down the ladder into the room! It was a workman fixing something!

My boys and husband much MUCH prefer to go to confession in a closed secret confessional, and I myself have gotten almost phobic about a face to face confession. Unfortunately, the times in town for confession are limited especially if you don't want to go face to face.   It is difficult to arrange the trip, and almost every time we've planned to make the trip into town, something has come up -- once a blizzard, once the little ones were sick.... etc.

Consequently we have not gone for several months now, and this is simply agonizing for me.   I am a rather shy person IRL and this is starting to become an anxiety issue.   My children are not getting to make a habit of frequent confession as I would like them to, and it is not their fault. If anyone's it is mine, which is a scary thought!   

I have been praying about it and thought I ought to bring it up here hoping perhaps someone would have advice/experience about the logistics or emotional side of making it to confession regularly under this kind of circumstance.   I feel a bit humiliated to admit such weakness but that is what confession is about, isn't it?

hsing boys ages 11, 14, almost 18 (+ 4 homeschool grads ages 20 to 27)
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Posted: March 10 2008 at 5:39pm | IP Logged Quote guitarnan

You know, Willa, I've lived in a remote mountain place, and I can really understand your difficulties and concerns. Is there a way you could telephone the priest and tell him which day you hoped to receive the sacrament, so he'd be sure to come early? Also, perhaps there's a way to set up a temporary screen in the cry room to give you and Father some privacy. I would not want to confess with workmen whistling in the background. I know it's another thing for either you or Father to figure out, but it could help your family feel much more comfortable.

It's not always easy to get to Confession, is it? (Today I had planned to go, but dd is sick, ds is out and dh was delayed at work, so... ) I think God knows that we are trying, and that we're doing our best to set examples for our families, even when things don't work out according to our plans.

I know that when we lived in WV, with only one Mass "close" by, there were times when bad weather forced cancellation of Mass, and there we were. It feels bad to miss, but we can't control everything, and I think God lets us know that every once in a while so we can turn to Him for everything we truly need.

Hang in there; you'll get to Confession, truly.

Thanks for sharing your feelings about this sacrament; they give me some things to discuss with one of my dear friends, who loves the Catholic faith but can't get her head around confessing sins "to" another person. Your perspective will help me explain things more clearly; one of my cherished hopes is to be her sponsor some day.

Hugs...BTDT with snow, schedules and related issues.

Nancy in MD. Mom of ds (24) & dd (18); 31-year Navy wife, move coordinator and keeper of home fires. Writer and dance mom.
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julia s.
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Posted: March 10 2008 at 6:14pm | IP Logged Quote julia s.


I'm truly sorry for your anxiety over this. I understand wanting a closed confession. I don't like face to face -- at my church there is a half curtain between the priest and confessor and a chair that sits across from the priest. Even though I should be able to go behind the curtain often the priest will look around to see if anyone is entering or walk out and see how long the line is and then you feel silly going behind the curtain (although I do anyway ). I'm really shy too.

For a solution I don't know -- maybe see if there is another church, even if it is further, where your family could attend just for confession. Mother Angelica even encouraged people who felt self-conscious about seeing their regular priests to go to another town to confess. That may not be exactly your situation, but it might be worth it even if you have to travel over an hour. Make it a combined trip with something else or just confession. That would make an impression about how important it is to your children.

I'll pray for you and I know that the spirit works closely through you and is already giving you direction.

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Posted: March 10 2008 at 8:11pm | IP Logged Quote Erin

Willa wrote:

It has always been difficult to get to confession regularly where we live.   In theory the priest comes early to hear confessions, but in practice he usually doesn't get there till a few minutes before Mass starts especially during the snowy winter months.   

We were in this situation for six months last year, what happened in the end was you would ring the presbytery and let them know your family was wanting confession that weekend and they would hear confession AFTER Mass.

Regards the privacy, could you make some sort of free standing screen and donate it and leave it at the church?

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Angie Mc
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Posted: March 10 2008 at 8:26pm | IP Logged Quote Angie Mc

Oh, Willa . What's really sad is that I live in a metro area and we still have problems with access to confession. I won't go into detail because I fear sounding uncharitable. But it is true...our family is often denied access to this sacrament. Combine this with our own difficulties (illness, dh's work, vehicles that break down, etc.) and it can get so discouraging. In this sense, I see it as a cross that we carry. It is a loss...a sacrifice that we can offer. It also keeps me humble...There was a time when I was able to go to confession weekly or biweekly. I honestly couldn't understand why others would *choose* not to go often. I honestly didn't piece together that God paved that path for me. I thought it had something to do with me and my efforts . Now who is humiliated?

I hope and pray that you find your way to the sacrament more often and/or to peace. I would appreciate your hope and prayers for the same for me.


Angie Mc
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Rachel May
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Posted: March 11 2008 at 6:56am | IP Logged Quote Rachel May

I have a friend who regularly invites priests over to eat after mass or in the evening. Even though it is fairly easy for her family to get to confession, the priests have always been happy to hear confessions at the house. Maybe you could arrange for Father to come for Sunday brunch?

Thomas and Anthony (10), Maria (8), Charles (6), Cecilia (5), James (3), and Joseph (1)
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