Dear Friends and Parishioners,
Next Wednesday, on March 22, 2023, St. Mary’s will hold our yearly Lenten Communal
Penance Service. It will start at 6:30 p.m. at St. Mary’s in Moscow. We are expecting 6–8 priests
from our North Central Idaho Deanery. We are blessed to be able to do this again during Lent.
As of February 22, 2023 a new Order of Penance was approved for use by the United
States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The new formulas in the Order will be mandatory on
the Second Sunday of Easter, Divine Mercy Sunday, April 16, 2023.
There are not a lot of changes; some of the wording is different for the Acts of Contrition and
in the Prayer of Absolution. These changes do not mean the previous Order of Penance,
promulgated after Vatican II, was wrong or in any way heretical. It is important to note that the
Sacrament celebrated since 1973 has been and always was valid.
However, all official documents from the Vatican are promulgated or written in Latin, and then
translated into English. The update is to make sure our English translations are as close to the
original Latin as possible. So far, new English translations of liturgical books have been
completed for The Roman Missal (2006), confirmation (2015), matrimony (2016),
exorcism (2017), the dedication of a church (2018), the blessing of oils (2019), the baptism
of children (2020), and ordination (2021). No worries, St. Mary’s is in compliance and uses all
of the new translations in our liturgies.
The new Order of Penance offers a number of exciting changes in the way the Sacrament is celebrated. For instance there are now 11 options for the Act of Contrition!
The prayer of Absolution includes these changes: “God, the Father of mercies,
through the death and resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to himself
and poured out [formerly “sent”] the Holy Spirit for [previously “Holy Spirit among us for”] the forgiveness of sins; through the ministry of the Church may God grant [instead of “give”] you pardon and peace. And I absolve you from your sins in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”
Please do not worry if you (or I) get the words mixed up the first few times you go to confession. Father Andrew Menke, executive director of the USCCB’s Secretariat for Divine Worship, stressed that “the heart of the sacrament” remains intact, and the absolution is still valid.”