Sunday, February 03, 2008

Saint Blaise

St Blaise who had his flesh ripped off with carding combs before he was beheaded is the patron saint of those suffering from maladies of the throat.

What fasicinated me was the number of people who stayed behind for the blessing of throats, a good 80% of the congregation. Lots of young people. The people that noticeably absented themselves, according to one of my parishioners, were the 60 pluses, or at least some of them.

I try to ensure that we use as many sacramentals as possible, people like them. That still doesn't answer why so few people go to confession but still go to communion.


gemoftheocean said...

Good for you for using sacramentals. People DO like them, except hippies, who come to think of it have their own "sacramentals" such as crystals and don't believe them.

As for confession - -here's my guess. People who have been away from the sacrament for a long time are afraid they will get "yelled at" or lectured by the priest. And/or they will leave something important out and make a bad confession.

A while back you mentioned in a posting somewhere that your take is that when people come to confession they want forgiveness and not a lecture, which, I think if most people knew was going to happen without being scolded or hectored would help. I'm sure, given your disposition from what you write if something the person said was ambiguous (like if you are not sure they are trying to justify a sin and keep going on with it) that you'd ask a clairifying question if you had to -- but for pastoral reason, and not to bully.

Have you been giving any homilies re: this? I personally must say I think the stupid penance services put a meat axe into traditional confession, but perhaps for some people different strokes and a
"safety in numbers" thought?

And sometimes with "one parish one priest" a person might not feel anonymous enough. Personally for confession I go to a priest whom I only have penitent/confessor relationship with as it's easier for me to dump it all when I don't know the priest otherwise.

That's just me. It can be hard to find a good confessor, and what's good for one person (as far as a confessor) may not be good for another. i.e. someone else I know only goes to confession to someone they know well.

It would be unusual, and I've never seen it done, but I wonder if you would get some insight by doing an anonymous survey during a homily -- have the ushers pass out a bit of paper, and give the folks a few minutes to complete. There's probably as many different answers as people, but perhaps some patterns will emerge.

Then there's the other problem - worse. "Sin? Does anyone do that?" The 2nd attitude would be much more "work" on your part!


nickbris said...

Sorry I missed it Father but I had a job to do,perhaps next Wednesday will be OK?

nickbris said...

The thing about confession Father is that some people are too embarrassed to go to their own Priest and prefer a stranger.

Recusant said...

The Confession/Communion issue is because you are highly unlikely to be reminded in a homily from any priest nowadays that to receive communion you need to be in a state of grace.

There is an interesting story about Cardinal Ottaviani when he was at one of those early mega-masses with Paul VI in Brazil and saw the thousands, as one, walk up to receive communion. He said: "Who would have thought so many people would be in a state of grace?".