January 18, 2007

Cathy's Confession Gripes

Gentle Reader: If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know that after many years without the Sacrament of Confession I am now a strong proponent of it.

However, "they" certainly don't make it easy for us, do they?

Here's what I mean..

If you are blessed to belong to a parish that has Confession at a convenient time everyday, you are truly blessed and I'm so envious I practically need to confess my envy of you.

For those of us that are not so blessed, let me share with you how challenging it can be to FIND a open Confessional.

If you are a working person, like me, and you DO NOT work in downtown Minneapolis or St. Paul, it's really difficult to find an available Confessional when you really need it. I have to wait for days, sometimes weeks, before I can find one on the North End, where I live, that's available at a time I can make it to. The parishes in the downtown area have Confession more frequently. In the suburbs, which is where I work, you can pretty much fugedabboutit.

If you want to know what all the Confession times are for any parish in the Midway or North End areas of St. Paul let me know, I've pretty much got them all memorized. Just remember: Saturday afternoons somewhere between 3 and 4 and you're pretty close.

What do you do if you can't make it between 3 and 4 on Saturday? Do what I do, scramble and call around. Rearrange my work schedule (which is not always doable) and hope for the best.

I know, I know, any priest will tell you. Call me anytime. Does anyone actually feel comfortable doing that? To me, that completely blows any illusion of anonymity we may still have. I'm pretty sure my parish priest knows its me by now when I show up (I have a pretty distinctive voice and I don't belong to a large parish) but I like that idea that he is not 100% sure. If I call him, then he definitely knows it's me coming over.

Or, my all time least favorite priestly excuse (because, I"m sorry, that's what it is an excuse) just come and find me around before Mass. O.k. I'm not sure I appreciate the fact that my inner stalker is being encouraged. What does this mean? How far does before Mass extend? Let's see. I spot Father's snowmobile parked outside his ice house so I figure this is as good a time as any. Or, there he is at the gas station so I'll just corner him by the pumps. I'm expected to run around the Sacristy, the Rectory, the church grounds and look for Father in those few minutes before Mass when he's trying to get ready. Tell me he's really going to have time. Again, no anonymity and this is just bogus (I would say another B word but I'm trying to be charitable here)

Today, we here a lot of praise about the Sacrament of Confession. At least, a lot more then I ever did growing up. Great, now how about offering it more often? I know some priests don't like to just sit there in the Confessional and wait for
people who never show up. You know what? I think that's er, like, your job, your calling? If you save even one person, isn't that worth all those minutes you sat there praying and reading the Bible and no one showed up? Who knows, more people may start availing themselves of the Sacrament if they see that you are serious and making yourself available on a regular basis.

PLEASE post the days, times and the location of Confessions in the Bulletin, on your outside sign, in the porch, on your website-just someplace!. You may be surprised at the number of parishes that DON'T. They just assume their regular parishioners KNOW all this but they don't take into consideration the guests, like me, who don't have a clue. What do I mean by location? Some churches have Confessionals in multiple locations: the Chapel, the Church, the Church Hall etc. To make it real confusing, they mix it up. On Thursday we have Confessions in the Chapel, on Sunday in the Church, on Holy Days, the Chapel. So there you are leaving because you are standing outside the Confessional in the Church and it seems like no one's around. But, they're in the Chapel.

It would also be helpful if you can explain the green light, red light, door closed, door open, white light, no light, curtains shut, curtain open means in your particular parish. Sometimes, its a no-brainer, other times its not. Every parish seems to be slightly different on what the lights outside the confessional, if they have them, mean. I end up lurking outside trying to hear the timbre of someone's voice inside because I can't tell if the lights on the Confessionals in this particular parish mean somoene's already in there or not.

Before someone tells me to talk to my priest about offering Confession more frequently. I already have.

It's probably not appropriate to criticize our priests who do so much. Fathers, I've got nothing but respect for you. I know you do a lot and put up with a lot. But, I hope I've given you some things to consider from a person who is really trying to remain in a State of Grace.

Thank you.

Oh, and here's one for my fellow Catholics: Pick up your snot rags when you leave the Confessional! Thank you.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nativity of Our Lord at Prior and Stanford , not quite on the North End, has Confessions every M-F at 4:00 before the 5:00 p.m. Mass.

January 18, 2007 9:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


After every Daily Mass, which is offered at 6:30 am, 8:00 am, and 7:00 pm.

Every Saturday from 9:00 am to 10:00 am, and 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

And by appointment.

And by request....I have often seen priests leaving the confessional just before Mass, having heard a requested Confession.

January 18, 2007 1:56 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Ray: Thanks. I should have known you would know. That time may not work for me either because my work hours may be changing again. Back to a 5:00 end of the work day.

Anonymous: Adoro, is that you?

Coon Rapids is not exactly convenient to St. Paul or Eden Prairie (where I work). However, I would make the trip to hear the new Cantor...

January 18, 2007 2:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nativity of Our Lord also has Confessions before the 8:15am daily Mass; I've seen the priest there as early as 7:45, and he is certainly there every day by at least 8.

January 18, 2007 4:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Yes, anon was me, had to answer from work. :-)

And what new Cantor would you be referring to? Ours are nothing special and no one is new. They're not bad, though.

And Epiphany is ALWAYS worth coming to see! :-)

January 18, 2007 6:23 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Adoro: I meant YOU the new Cantor! Maybe...

All: I think I did not convey the true meaning of my post very well. Though I appreciate all the lists of Confession times, the point I was trying to get across is that I should not HAVE to travel all over town.

I feel like this requirement to travel is perhaps some kind of a test...or maybe I should just quit whining...sigh.

January 18, 2007 7:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would you like some cheese with your wine? I love a good cheese. Swiss, Gouda, Chevre, smoked cheddar, Wisconsin, apples n cheese...smoked apple cheddar, smoked gouda, baby swiss, unpronounceable cheese....


Don't look to me to Cantor...you haven't heard me sing!

Anyway...yeah, it's hard to have to travel, and I am blessed to be so close to a parish with so many confession times.

But you're closer to St. Agnes than I am. So there. Have some cheese.


And do me a favor and link my newest post to your blog. I need some help. Or rather...my students do.

January 18, 2007 8:18 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Adoro: Yes, send cheese. Stilton, please, along with a nice Gewurtzraminer. Thank you.

January 19, 2007 6:47 AM  

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