Reconciliation Weekend Penance Service

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1 Reconciliation Weekend Penance Service This has been put together to help priests and parishes that would like to incorporate a Penance Service during the observation of the Diocese of Fall River s Reconciliation Weekend on March It might be particularly useful to initiate the Friday night portion of the Reconciliation Weekend. These thoughts and prayers may of spiritual nourishment to all the faithful of the Diocese of Fall River as the Reconciliation Weekend approaches. Entrance Hymn There s a Wideness in God s Mercy or another appropriate hymn. Greeting After the opening song the celebrant greets the people. Grace and peace be with you from God the Father and from Jesus Christ who loved us and washed away our sins in his blood. The meaning of the celebration is explained in these or similar words: The Letter to the Hebrews states: When Jesus was made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him, declared by God high priest according to the order of Melchizedek. This year, we are called to reflect upon and give thanks for the powerful sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Orders. Jesus instituted these two sacraments so that we may always draw closer to Him and receive the love the Father has for us. Through penance God calls us to a new beginning. He helps us to find our true freedom as his sons and daughters. When Jesus invites us to repentance, he is inviting us to take our place in his Father s kingdom. If we follow our Lord s advice we exchange our past life for one far more valuable. (pause) 1

2 Opening Prayer Celebrant: Let us pray. (All pray in silence for a brief period.) Lord our God, You call us out of darkness into light, out of self-deception into truth, out of death into life. Send us your Holy Spirit to open our ears to your call. Fill our hearts with courage to be true followers of your Son. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen. First Reading Isaiah 55:1-11 A reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah All you who are thirsty, come to the water! You who have no money, come, receive grain and at; Come, without paying and without cost, drink wine and milk! Why spend your money for what is not bread; your wages for what fails to satisfy? Heed me, and you shall eat well, you shall delight in rich fare. Come to me heedfully; listen, that you may have life. I will renew with you the everlasting covenant, the benefits assured to David. As I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander of nations, so shall you summon a nation you knew not, and nations that knew you not shall run to you, because of the LORD, your God, the Holy One of Israel, who has glorified you. Seek the LORD while he may be found, call him while he is near. Let the scoundrel forsake his way, and the wicked man his thoughts; Let him turn to the LORD for mercy; to our God, who is generous in forgiving. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the LORD. As high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are my ways above your ways and my thoughts above your thoughts. For just as from the heavens the rain and snow come down and do not return there till they have watered the earth, making it fertile and fruitful, Giving seed to him who sows and bread to him who eats, so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; It shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it. The Word of the Lord. Responsorial Psalm Psalm 51 A humble heart is pleasing to God. (The responsorial psalm should be sung.) Have mercy on me, O God, in your goodness; in the greatness of your compassion wipe out my offense. Thoroughly wash me from my guilt and of my sin cleanse me. R. For I acknowledge my offense, and my sin is before me always: Against you only have I sinned, 2

3 and done what is evil in your sight that you may be justified in your sentence, vindicated when you condemn. R. Let me hear the sounds of joy and gladness; the bones you have crushed shall rejoice. Turn away your face from my sins, and blot out all my guilt. R. A clean heart create for my O God, and a steadfast spirit renew within me. Cast me not out from your presence, and your holy spirit take not from me. R. Give me back the joy of your salvation, and a willing spirit sustain in me. I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners shall return to you. R. Free me from blood guilt, O God, my saving help; then my tongue shall revel in your justice. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth shall proclaim your praise. R. For you are not pleased with sacrifices; should I offer a holocaust, you would not accept it. My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit; a heart contrite and humbled, O God, you will not spurn R. Gospel Acclamation Psalm 94, as on Ash Wednesday If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts. Gospel Luke 15:1-3; A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke Tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus, but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, This man welcomes sinners and eats with them. So to them Jesus addressed this parable: A man had two sons, and the younger son said to his father, Father give me the share of your estate that should come to me. So the father divided the property between them. After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings and set off to a distant country where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation. When he had freely spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he found himself in dire need. So he hired himself out to one of the local citizens who sent him to his farm to tend the swine. And he longed to eat his fill of the pods on which the swine fed, but nobody gave him any. Coming to his senses he thought, How many of my father s 3

4 hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger. I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers. So he got up and went back to his father. While he was still a long way off, his father caught sight of him, and was filled with compassion. He ran to his son, embraced him and kissed him. His son said to him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you; I no longer deserve to be called your son. But his father ordered his servants, Take the fattened calf and slaughter it. Then let us celebrate with a feast, because this son of mine was dead, and has come to life again; he was lost, and has been found. Then the celebration began. The Gospel of the Lord. Homily Examination of Conscience The following aid is based upon the Ten Commandments and illumined by the words of St Paul. A period of silence should always be included here so that each person may personally examine his or her conscience. 1. They knew God but did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles. (Rom 1:21-23) Have I replaced the God of my life with creatures or creature comforts? Is my faith in God firm and secure? 2. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil 2:9-11) Have I revered and exalted the name of God or have I abased it in my speech? Have I shown love for the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints? 3. For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, "This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me." In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes. (1 Cor 11:23-26) Have I attended Mass on Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation? Have I been faithful to prayer? Do I offer God my joys and sorrows? 4. Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (this is the first commandment with a promise), that it may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth. (Eph 6:1-3) Have I honored those who gave me life, both earthly and eternal? Do I respect all rightful authority? 4

5 Have I been careful to educate my children in the Catholic faith? 5. God saved us and called us with a holy calling through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. (2 Tim 1:9-10) Have I respected my brothers and sisters as children of God, made in his image and likeness? Have I shared in the culture of death in any way? Have I resorted in any way to violence of word or deed? Have I given myself over to anger? 6. I appeal to you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. (Rom 12:1) Have I kept my whole body pure as a temple of the Holy Spirit? Have I dishonored my body physically or through unworthy conversation or thoughts? Have I indulged in activities which offend Christian decency? 7. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his hands, so that he may be able to give to those in need. (Eph 4:28) Have I stolen or cheated? Have I shared my abundant blessings with the poor and needy? 8. Let God be true though every man be false, as it is written, "That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged." Have I lied? Do I ever speak or act falsely, especially in such a way that my neighbor is harmed? Am I justified by my own words or compromised by them? Have I gone against my conscience out of fear or hypocrisy? 9. The commandments, You shall not steal, You shall not covet, and any other commandment, are summed up in this sentence, You shall love your neighbor as yourself." (Rom 13:9) Am I concerned for the good and prosperity of the human community in which I live, or do I spend my life caring only for myself? Have I a genuine love for my neighbor, or do I use them for my own ends, doing to them what I would not want done to myself? 10. Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. (Eph 5:25-28) Have I been faithful to my spouse? Have I sought to understand and support the Church s teachings on marriage? Do I honor marriage as a holy covenant that mirrors the love of Christ and the Church? Act of Repentance Celebrant: Christ our Lord came to call sinners into his Father s kingdom. Let us now make an act of contrition in our hearts and resolve to avoid sin in the future. 5

6 After a brief period of silence, all say together: I confess to almighty God, and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done, and what I have failed to do; and I ask blessed Mary, ever Virgin, all the angels and saints, and you my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God Prayers of the Faithful Celebrant: Lord our God, you know all things. You know that we want to be more generous in serving you and our neighbor. Look on us with love and hear our prayer. Reader: 1. Give us the strength to turn away from sin. We pray to the Lord. 2. Help us to be sorry for our sins and to keep our resolutions. We pray to the Lord. 3. Forgive our sins and have pity on our weakness. We pray to the Lord 4. Give us trust in your goodness and make us generous in serving you, as was your holy Apostle Paul. We pray to the Lord 5. Help us to be true followers of your Son and living members of the Church. We pray to the Lord The Lord s Prayer Celebrant: God does not want the sinner to die, but to turn to him and live. May he be pleased that we have confessed our sinfulness, and show us mercy as we pray in the words our Savior gave us: Our Father Closing Prayer Celebrant: Father, our source of life, You know our weakness. May we reach out with joy to grasp your hand and walk more readily in your ways. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen. Individual Confession and Absolution Then the penitents go to the priests designated for individual confession and confess their sins. Each one receives and accepts a fitting act of satisfaction and is absolved. After hearing the confession and offering suitable counsel, the priest extends his hands over the penitent's head and gives absolution. The penitents leave the church in silence. 6

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