On February 17 the Christian church will observe Shrove Tuesday. Shrove is the past tense of the Old English verb “to shrive,” which means “to impose penance upon (a person); hence, to administer absolution to; to hear the confession of.” Thus, Shrove Tuesday exists so that Christians can make a proper confession of their sins to their priest and receive absolution – assurance of God’s forgiveness. It is in the church calendar so that the penitent Christian can make a proper start to his/her Lent.
On Tuesday, February 17 Fr. Ryan will be hearing confessions (more properly known as the “Reconciliation of a Penitent”) in Holy Cross Chapel from 6:00-7:00pm. No appointment is needed. Simply come by the church and if he is with someone you may wait quietly in the middle office area in prayer until it is your turn. Should you wish to make your confession but cannot do it on Shrove Tuesday then you may set up another time with me or Fr. Ryan.
Many of you have likely already enjoyed the benefits of auricular confession. Yet some of you may be wondering what it is all about and even how you can make a good and proper confession. I would suggest the following course of action if you desire to say your confession on Shrove Tuesday:
1) Read and familiarize yourself with the “Reconciliation of a Penitent” service in the Book of Common Prayer (pp. 446-452). Remember, much of Anglican theology is expressed in our liturgy so understanding our theology of confession will mostly come from the service itself.
2) Read the short tract entitled “Hints for a First Confession” written by the great Anglican pastor and theologian Edward Pusey. It can be found at http://anglicanhistory.org/pusey/pusey1.html. Follow through on Pusey’s wise suggestions.
3) If you still have any questions do not hesitate to contact Fr. Ryan or me by phone, email or in person. We will do our best to answer your questions.
As we prepare to enter the Lenten season may God’s grace abound in you richly.