By Tim Harfmann
Gina Caridi is a devout Catholic. She attends daily Mass and leads other worshippers in the Rosary at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church in Astoria, Queens. But the Monday of Holy Week was special. As she prayed, Caridi prepared to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. “This is the Sacrament that’s going to save your soul and get you into Heaven,” said Caridi.
On Reconciliation Monday, every church is open across the Brooklyn diocese, the Rockville Centre diocese and the Archdiocese of New York. Priests are available to hear penitents. “I think that outside of the Eucharist, the Confession is the most important Sacrament we have,” said Caridi, who also went to confession last month.
It’s especially important to go now, according to t Monsignor Sean Ogle, the church’s pastor. “Catholics are obligated to make, what we call, the ‘Easter Duty’ of Confession and Communion at least once a year during Lent or the season of Easter. It fits nicely into the pattern. But above and beyond that, it’s the most important time of the year for a Christian,” said Monsignor Ogle.
Lilia Forero sat anxiously outside Monsignor Ogle’s confessional. “I always ask for the Holy Spirit to illuminate me, to advise me and to try to be a better person every day,” said Forero. As she’s fulfilled her Easter Duty, she also asked her pastor for guidance. “It’s not only [about] confessing, it’s taking advice from the priest,” said Forero.
If you haven’t gone to Confession lately, Catholics like Caridi had some advice; “Spend a half hour before you go into Confession. Even if you want to write down your sins the day before, in case you forget. That’s the same thing that I do. I have to prepare.”
For anyone who didn’t make it to the confessional on Reconciliation Monday, call your parish, or check the church bulletin or website, to find out about the schedule for Confessions.