New Cardinal Tells Me Where To Go

Cardinal Dolan writes from Rome:

Early in the morning, I walk down the Janiculum  Hill – where I stay at the North American College – to Saint Peter’s Basilica, there to go to confession and then to celebrate Mass.

Two powerful sacraments, Eucharist and Reconciliation, constants of our spiritual life, at the heart of the church, near the tomb of Saint Peter.

I don’t want you to think that I only approach confession when I’m in Rome!

At home with you in New York I try to go every two weeks, because I need it.

But it does have a special urgency and meaning here in Rome.

Near the tomb of Saint Peter, I can hear Jesus ask Him three times: “Simon, do you love me?” and then examine my conscience to see how I have failed to love the Lord and take care of his sheep.

Near his tomb, I picture myself, like Saint Peter, doubting Jesus and sinking in the waters of the storm.

Adjacent to his burial place, I even admit that, like Peter, I have, in my thoughts, words, and actions, denied Jesus.

So my contrition is strong, my purpose of amendment firm, and I approach one of the Franciscans for confession in the corner of the massive basilica.

Then I say my penance before the tomb of Peter, under the high altar, and go to vest for the greatest prayer of all, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

I will confess, sometimes my immediate reaction to a long Confession line is … something I need to add to my list. But is there a more merciful sight? Is there anything better than the Sacraments? Those two-fer days he describes are not bad at all. What a Divine embrace.

  • Carl J. Boyer

    Most Catholics never to go confession at St. Peter’s in Rome. There is something awesome about St. Peters Basilica and the universal connection you feel with the Church–yet, the profound sense and meaning of contrition and forgiveness is felt in a humbling way when officiated by an old Marianist priest, Father John Docktor, S.M. in remote Galesville, Wisconsin.

  • Carl J. Boyer

    Most Catholics never go confession at St. Peter’s in Rome. There is something awesome about St. Peters Basilica and the universal connection you feel with the Church–yet, the profound sense and meaning of contrition and forgiveness is felt in a humbling way with officiated by an old Marianist priest, Father John Docktor, S.M. in remote Galesville, Wisconsin.


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