By Tim Harfmann
Parishioners at Our Lady of Angels Church in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn take reconciliation seriously. Cathy Lemmon is one of them. “I know I’m a sinner, but I had difficulty this morning trying to think what I will say when I go to confession.” Lemmon said she hesitated entering the confessional for four decades; but two years ago, she returned to the Church to tell her sins to a priest.
“I told him everything from Day One of my ‘bad life’ until the present. And I absolutely felt like Atlas shrugged the weight off my shoulders.” Lemmon was one of many Catholics participating in Reconciliation Monday.
Catholic churches in the Brooklyn diocese and the Archdiocese of New York opened the confessionals Monday evening, giving sinful Catholics the opportunity to express their harmful acts. This year’s theme was “Find Peace Through Forgiveness on Reconciliation Monday.”
Monsignor Kevin Noone, pastor of Our Lady of Angels, said Reconciliation Monday sets a tone for the advent season. “People want to be at peace with God. We’re all aware of the fact that we’re human and fallible and sinners,” said Monsignor Noone.
Other parishioners said exiting the confessional gives them a sense of cleansing. “You feel clean and pure. You just feel God’s grace and love,” said Rosanne Malone. “We’re having company. So what do you do when you’re having company? The first thing you think of is clean the house,” said Mary Lee McGeeney. “It’s a good way to look at it, that we want to clean up our acts before Jesus comes.”
For those who haven’t been to reconciliation in some time, Monsignor Noone had some advice. “Calm down, don’t be worried. However long it’s been, first of all, welcome back,” said Monsignor Noone.
If you couldn’t make it to a church for Reconciliation Monday, you can call your local parish or check a church bulletin to see when they hold confessions.