Father Fred Link, O.F.M.

This past Tuesday, February 23, was a day of special grace and blessing. First and foremost, nine St. Clement second-grade parishioners celebrated for the first time the life giving Sacrament of Penance or Reconciliation. Additionally two others received a special blessing; they will be baptized this Easter time and so were not ready to celebrate Penance. While we know that there is nothing in these young children's lives that seperates them from God's grace, the Church who sees them reaching the "age of reason" at seven years of age, invites them to celebrate this sacrament for the first time. It was an awesome priviledge for Fr. Jim and me to share personally with each child, after she or he named a sin or two, the beautiful prayer of the Church: "May Jesus forgive you and in his name I forgive you all your sins."
Those who were present would testigy that I was enjoying myself as presider at this special event. I absolutely love the way the young children interact when I do my best to bring a Gospel story alive. The parents seemed to be enjoying themselves also.
Everyone will have the opportunity to celebrate the life-giving Sacrament of Penance this coming Tuesday, March 3, when all of the Catholic churches through the archdiocese will participate in the "We'll Keep the Light on for You" program between the hours of 7pm and 9pm. Both Fr. Jim and I will be in the church during that time. Whether you go to Confession that evening, here or in any other church, or during our parish Lenten Penance Service on Monday, March 16, I hope you take some time during this holiest seasons to extol the infinite Mercy of our God.