More on blessings from EMHCs—with a helpful solution from Archbishop Chaput

Various people have written in over the last 24 hours, suggesting that it’s just not practical or pastoral for an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion (EMHC) to turn away someone in the communion line who wants a blessing. Several years ago, Archbishop Charles Chaput offered a solution that I’ve blogged about in the past. I offer [Read More...]

Can EMHCs give blessings during communion?—UPDATED

The question came up recently with a deacon candidate, so I thought it would be useful to post some information on the subject. The short answer is: no. For a longer answer, here’s Paul Matenaer from the Diocese of Madison: In 2008, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments received a letter [Read More...]

Report: Pope phoned divorced and remarried woman to say she can receive communion—UPDATED

Details:  Pope Francis has phoned a divorced and remarried Catholic woman in Argentina to tell her that she could “safely receive Communion”,according to an extraordinary report in La Stampa. The woman’s husband, writing on Facebook, claims that the Pope – introducing himself as “Father Bergoglio” – spoke to his wife, who’d been divorced before marrying [Read More...]

Holy Saturday: Easter Vigil rehearsal

My Holy Saturday always begins with coffee and bagels with the RCIA folks in the rectory basement, followed by a two-hour rehearsal in the church of the Vigil, led by Deacon Bill McNamara (my ordination classmate and my parish’s DRE) and Father Frank Passenant, our administrator.  Also on hand is David James the head of [Read More...]

“I have to admit, seeing the pope go to confession was a pretty powerful thing”

That singular and historic moment—no pope had ever been seen going to confession before—may be having an impact this Lent. We offer the sacrament every day at my parish, and people report longer lines. Tonight, we’re bringing in extra priests to help handle the expected crowds after our 7:30 liturgy. A New Jersey newspaper takes [Read More...]

Heading to confession this week? Bring this with you.

I first posted this during Advent, but it seems even more timely now. Check it out:  Pope Francis called on the faithful to use the Internet as a source of hope.  Every click of the mouse, every arrow hovering over a link, can lead us either closer to or further from the Gospel.  As the Holy [Read More...]

Making Reconciliation matter: dioceses promote confession during Lent

I made mention of this in my homily today: a special day for the Sacrament of Reconciliation in the Diocese of Brooklyn (see the ad above). Other places around my area are also promoting the sacrament. From  One of loneliest places in church these days is the confession line. The act of confessing one’s [Read More...]

Lesbians’ baby baptized in Argentina’s cathedral

From CNN:  Umma Azul, whose godmother is the country’s President, on Saturday became the first child of a lesbian couple to be baptized by the Catholic Church in Argentina. Carina Villarroel and Soledad Ortiz asked Archbishop Carlos Jose Nanez for the blessing, according to national news agency Telam. The bishop reportedly said their marital status [Read More...]

Remarkable image: Pope Francis goes to confession — UPDATED

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a photograph quite like this before: the pope going to confession. CNS tweets: Before pope goes to hear confessions, he kneels before a priest to confess himself UPDATE: Below is the video. I don’t mind admitting: it moved me to tears. I did a Google search and couldn’t find [Read More...]

Pope to confessors: “The heart of a priest is a heart that knows how to be moved”

From the Vatican, Pope Francis’ remarks to participants in a “Course on the Internal Forum,” dealing with reconciliation and the ministry of confessors: You are called to always be “men of the Holy Spirit,” witnesses and heralds, joyful and strong, of the resurrection of the Lord. This testimony is read on the face, is heard [Read More...]