By Deacon Frank Agnoli
(Editor’s note: Deacon Frank Agnoli presents a series on the healing sacraments, which begins this week. He is director of liturgy and of deacon formation for the Davenport Diocese.)
As part of our observation of the Year of Faith, the U.S. bishops are encouraging Catholics to return to the sacrament of reconciliation (see Bishop Martin Amos’ Ash Wednesday letter on Page 3).
Jesus’ mission was to proclaim and, through his paschal mystery, bring about our reconciliation with the Father. After the resurrection, Jesus charged the apostles to do likewise. Indeed, this is the mission of the whole Church: to proclaim and help bring about, through preaching and teaching, through our pastoral care and concern, and through prayer and the sacraments, this very reconciliation.
Over the centuries, and from place to place, the ways that we have celebrated this reconciliation, this healing, through the sacraments and other rites, has varied considerably. But what underlies them has not: we sin, and are in need of forgiveness; we are broken, and in need of being made whole; we are ill — spiritually, mentally, physically — and in need of healing. And the Church, in fidelity to the call and example of Christ, has sought to respond to those needs.
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