It is Monday evening as I write and I am just home from from the pre-Christmas gathering of priests of the Catholic diocese of Christchurch.
It is always a remarkable and inspiring gathering. Fifty of us met at 5 this afternoon in the parish church of Christ the King, Burnside to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation together before having dinner together.
This was also the first time we had gathered with our newly appointed Bishop-elect Paul Martin and we were delighted to welcome him as we look forward to his ordination as bishop on Saturday 3 March.
Parishioners know their priests as those who, as mediators of Christ’s mercy, forgive the sins of those who seek to experience God’s mercy. Perhaps it is less well known that priests have as a priority in their lives a regular confession of their own sins to one of their brothers.
And this is what happened tonight as we gathered to pray and to confess our sins to each other so that we could receive God’s forgiveness and mercy.
Then we had dinner together.
It was a great night!
If you don’t find the Sacrament of Reconciliation very easy, or if you haven’t been since last century, you might find this clip interesting:
“O” Antiphon for 19 December
O Radix Jesse
O Root of Jesse,
that stands for an ensign of the people,
before whom the kings keep silence and unto whom the Gentiles shall make supplication:
come, to deliver us, and tarry not.