Originally these blogs were intended to address the questions posed by the students within our Faith Formation classrooms. However, with this blog, I am going to address more of a general topic. As you know from my Christmas newsletter I was blessed to take a pilgrimage to Medjugorje over winter break. A quick background on Medjugorje: it is a small village in Bosnia and Herzegovina where in 1981 Mary appeared to six children. To this day, Mary continues to appear each day to three of those visionaries. For my pilgrimage, I was blessed enough to be able to have stayed with Ivan, one of the visionaries. A visionary is a person who receives visions/apparitions as part of private revelation. This means that one is not obligated by the Church to believe in visionaries or apparitions as they are not public revelation.
Now for a little bit about my trip and the point of this blog. While I was in Medjugorje, I experienced intense prayer (Rosary), challenges (climbed two mountains), Masses, Adoration (in a packed Church with people of all languages) but most of all I was able to receive the Sacrament of Confession. Unbeknownst to me, Medjugorje is known as the Confessional of the World. There were over 50 confessionals for people of all languages to receive the Sacrament. If there were more than 50 priests available they sat on benches outside of the Church to make sure that the pilgrims’ confessions could be heard. During the peak months (April through September), some people have to wait in lines for over 2 hours to have their confession heard. Since it was the “off season” during my trip I only had to wait a little over an hour since there were only two English speaking priests. While in line I meet this Italian man who shared his incredible story: About six years ago his mother sent him to Medjugorje during New Years to give him some perspective as his life was not where it should be. He explained himself as “barely human, a beast”. It was only after receiving the graces of the Sacrament that he felt whole again. He has come back to Medjugorje every New Years for the past 6 years to confess his sins. His quote about being “barely human, a beast” struck me. So many people in the world are consumed or drowning in their sins that they do not see a way out, the light that can bring them back into humanity. We as Catholics are so lucky that Christ gave us a way back, He gave us a light- we see it each time we enter our Churches and a priest is waiting in the Confessional.
As part of the Year of Mercy and our Faith Formation calendar the students will be receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation during their class time. The specific dates can be found on their syllabus and the website. I wanted to take the time to personally invite you as the parents to come to the Lenten Reconciliation Service on Palm Sunday (March 20th) since we are all sinners and in need of God’s mercy and forgiveness. I hope that you can learn something from the Italian stranger I met in line for confession and come back to the light and “become whole again”… through the Confessional. As our Second Graders can share with you: “THERE IS NOTHING TO FEAR BECAUSE GOD ALREADY KNOWS”.