St Francis Q&A

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

"Rejoicing in heaven"

A woman who lived near the parish died suddenly at the age of 49. I was especially saddened when I got the call about her death from the funeral home because the next of kin is her 17 year old daughter. When I offered the vigil prayers at the viewing, I asked the many friends and family to continue to pray for and support this precious girl much in the coming days and weeks. Having lost my own father to a sudden death when I was 17, my heart went out to the daughter in a special way.

The next day, we celebrated a beautiful burial service at the cemetery in the hot late morning sun. Many people turned out to honor and pray for the repose of the soul of this God-fearing woman. Afterwards, the family was generous enough to invite me back to their home for the reception where the scores of family and friends gathered.

Many of the daughter's friends were playing basketball in the street shortly after I arrived. At one point, I walked over and asked how much they would wager that I could drain a 20-foot shot. One guy said, "$20". My first shot fell short, and I was in the hole to the young lad. "Double or nothing", I said, to which he agreed. Then, as I lined up the next shot, one of the girls said, "I didn't know priests could play basketball" to the group of about 20 who had gathered. Whoosh! The second shot was good, the kids went nuts, and the guy was shaking his head.

Some time later, I was talking with some of the good folks back in the house. A family member asked for a blessing. Minutes after the blessing, she asked to go to Confession which we did on the side porch. Another beautiful woman of faith! When we walked back in the living room, another woman asked to reconcile with God (and the Church) in Confession.

By the time I left, three people had made beautiful Confessions; what an awesome gift for this new priest! And, it had been many, many years for some. I was reiterating to them how great it was that they came back to the Sacrament, and how much it pleased God. I told them that there was great rejoicing in heaven, just as Jesus has said: "There will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance" (Lk 15:7).

7 Comments:

  • Fr. Greg,

    Praise the Lord that God brings goodness (confessions) at such an unusual time.....such a sad time. I will pray for this woman's daughter and for her mother's soul. Thanks for sharing.....one, so that we can pray for this teen and two, it is so precious to hear of several people experiencing reconciliation in such unusual circumstances! You might need to start taking notes and write a book! Thank you for sharing how Jesus is working through His instrument, a new priest. Your buddies from St. Francis.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:51 PM  

  • Fr. Greg,

    I too will keep both daughter and mother in my prayers. What a very sad time for them both.

    I was wondering one thing. How often should people go to confession? I know A LOT of people who don't go to confession because they find it too embarrassing.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:57 AM  

  • To Anonymous,
    I agree with many of your friends who say that "Confession is too embarrassing", but it is because of that very feeling of embarrassment that God uses confession to heal us. Talk about humbling yourself. If we are truly humbling ourselves to Christ, then this is just the way to do it. Telling another person of our faults is the most humbling experience. But not just telling our faults to another person, but telling our faults to Christ. The priest is there representing christ. I too don't like going to confession and I really have to force myself to go . I try to go at least twice a year, usually around Christmas and then around Easter. I wish I could bring myself to go more often, because I do believe in its cleansing power. I'm a work in progress. Christ is working on me in many ways and confession is difinetly one of those areas.

    Fr. Gregs experience of those wishing to receive reconciliation at such a difficult time, truly are small miracles. It is through our hard times that God can offer us some life saving experiences.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:02 AM  

  • To Annon above,

    No one will listen to me.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:02 PM  

  • What I meant in the last post was I can't find anyone to say confession to.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:05 PM  

  • To anony-can't find anyone to go to confession to? St. Francis offers confession every Saturday. Plus Fr. Greg might do it by appt.....Just check Catholic Church websites in this area. They all offer opportunites for confession at least once a week. I believe all Catholic Churhes offer reconciliation on Saturday.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:39 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger sdRay, at 6:28 PM  

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