Tuesday, 10 December 2013

How Not To Evangelize

I had a rather interesting experience this morning. As you may know, the Archdiocese has decided on December 11 as a day of reconciliation. Confessions are being heard in churches all over the city. I decided that I might make a rare trip south and visit Corpus Christi Church for confession and then perhaps a visit to the synagogue for lunch. In preparation for my excursion I surfed over to the Corpus Christi website to have a look at their bulletin and that is where the adventure began.

The Corpus Christi website is a rather professionally done affair with all the usual information on the front page, including the usual mass and confession times as well as photos and an assortment of links to events, groups and a forum. I scrolled down to the bottom of the page and clicked the bulletin link and ran into trouble. The website requires that one sign in in order to look at that information. I tried to sign in and even got past the "captcha" to prove my humanity but eventually gave up in frustration. Finally I decided to try it the old fashioned way and gave them a phone call. My heart sank when I heard a recorded message. 

I decided to go to confession somewhere else but it could have been much worse. I could have been a penitent returning after a long absence or someone in great need. What was a mere morning's annoyance to me might have been a far more serious matter to someone in a more fragile state. Something about not breaking a bruised reed or quenching a dimly burning wick comes to mind. Websites and social media are useful tools but personal contact is indispensable.

I remember many years ago while I was living in the west end and trying to decide which of several parishes in the neighborhood I would attend. I made my decision when I called St. Anthony's Church and, because the parish secretary was absent, the phone rang straight through to the priest's rec room. I attended the church the following Sunday and for as long as I lived in that neighborhood.

To be entirely fair about this I decided to call my home parish just to see what would happen. The phone rang and I waited... finally the parish secretary picked up. She said hello and put me on the speaker phone because the pastor was in the room. I explained myself briefly and promised a further explanation soon. Well, this is that explanation and I have to say I am proud of you both... well done!

Corpus Christi Church, Toronto

Seems the Archdiocese has published the confession times on their website... two clicks and I was there. Here's the link.
Day of Confessions 

Addendum 2...
From the Archdiocese blog entry dated December 11,2013  
"What holds you back from going to Confession? Some Catholics might consider it unnecessary to confess their sins through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. (We address this common question on the website for the Day of Confessions, which takes place today—Wednesday, December 11.)"
The link points to the website for the April 9, 2013 Day of confessions... the date in giant letters at the top of the page should have been a clue but I missed it. I hope no one was led astray by this misinformation. 


Barona said...

How sad to see a parish whose pastor is so - pastoral - transformed by - we must presume here - the erstwhile laity into a bureaucratic nightmare. Ironic indeed.

Lawrence and Susan Fox said...

I got in line for confession one time, and you know how conversations start when they are not supposed to. Well the lady behind me hadn't been to confession in 20 years. I quickly moved her in front of me in the line, but after waiting 45 minutes, neither of us made it in. She apparently had been trying to go to confession before at other times, and this was her third try. Others gave her tips on where else to go to confession. All I could do was beg her to keep trying. It shouldn't be so hard to return to the practice of your faith. God bless you. Susan Fox www.christsfaithfulwitness.com