Seneca Falls. March 13, 2008. Regnum Christi member Dan Kane
spoke on a timely topic at the Family Faith Day,
a tri-parish event organized and sponsored by Spirit Alive. His
message on the sacrament of confession fit into a larger
theme of reconciliation among the three parishes, which will be
clustering in the near future, and his participation in parish
events is also a great example of how a Regnum
Christi member can put his gifts at the service of
his own parish.
Article reprinted with permission from
the Catholic Courier, the Rochester diocesan newspaper.
Waterloo, Geneva families gather for faith-formation event
By Jennifer Burke
FALLS -- Dan Kane doesn´t exactly relish the experience of
going to confession.
"Do you think I like going
to the priest and confessing all my sins? Not particularly.
Confession, like most things, is an acquired taste," Kane told
those who´d gathered at the former St. John Bosco School
March 2 for Family Faith Day.
Nonetheless, Kane said
he recognizes the importance of the sacrament of reconciliation and
makes it a point to seek it out frequently. He
even credits his life´s blessings -- including his good marriage
and children -- with his regular reception of the sacrament.
"The freedom that I get from going to confession
and the gifts of advice and direction I get from
the priest serve me more than anything else. I try
to get people out of the mold where you only
go to confession during Lent and Advent," said Kane, a
member of St. Patrick Parish.
Kane´s reflection on the
sacrament of reconciliation was one of the central pieces of
Family Faith Day, which was organized and sponsored by Spirit
Alive, a joint faith-formation initiative of St. Patrick, St. Mary
Parish in Waterloo and Our Lady of Peace Parish in
Geneva. Formed in 2006, this initiative helps parishioners from all
three parishes -- which anticipate clustering in the future --
get to know each other and get used to working
together, said Marte Liddell, catechetical leader at the Waterloo parish.
Family Faith Day will hopefully become a regular occurrence,
Liddell said, noting the idea for the event came from
a book that suggests holding such a family-oriented faith-formation day
once a month. Spirit Alive committee members hope to start
slowly by holding such a day once every few months
and gradually building from there, she said.
was to ... gather families together to do something with
faith and spend time together," Liddell said.
Lent, so we decided to do the reconciliation theme (today),"
added Kim Burke, Family Faith Day coordinator. "It´s about reconciliation
and forgiveness, and God´s wonderful love and mercy."
afternoon family members worked together to create family posters explaining
what reconciliation meant to them. They also created cards using
words of forgiveness and love and decorated "reconciliation stones" with
such words as "love," "peace," "forgiveness," "faith," "unity," "mercy" and,
of course, "reconciliation." Children and adults alike deposited their decorated
stones into a basket, and these stones were later distributed
to other participants, who were encouraged to keep the stones
as daily reminders to seek reconciliation, Liddell said.
also decorated paper sheep with white cotton balls and inscribed
their family name upon them. Later on, the sheep were
hidden and the children searched for and found them while
the adults listened to Kane´s presentation on reconciliation.
Kane, a Geneva native and 1979 graduate of Geneva´s DeSales
High School, is a nuclear-medicine physicist by trade and a
cofounder of Regnum Christi, an apostolic movement associated with the
Legionaries of Christ priestly order. He also is a fellow
of the Westchester Institute for Ethics and the Human Person,
where he promotes the church´s teachings in matters of bioethics.
Humans by nature are fallen and attracted to sin,
which darkens our intellect, weakens our will and makes us
its slave, Kane said. Regular, sacramental confession is the only
way for Catholics to reclaim their intellect, will and freedom,
"It is the key to a successful
marriage, effective work and personal happiness. It is the heavy
lifting of the interior life that allows us to be
effective," he observed.
The origins of the sacrament of
reconciliation can be traced back to the Gospel of John,
which details Jesus´ visit with the apostles in the locked
room after his resurrection. Those apostles had sinned by betraying
and abandoning Jesus in his hour of need, but Jesus
forgave them. What´s more, Kane said, Jesus breathed on them
and said, "Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive
are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained."
In this way, Jesus gave his apostles the power
to forgive or bind sins, and that power is passed
down to the priests of today, Kane said. While Jesus
was divine and knew the apostles´ sins without being told,
priests are human and don´t know what our sins are
unless we tell them, he noted. Our human vanity and
pride often make it hard for us to approach a
priest and share our sins with him, he added.
At our core, all humans are made in the image
and likeness of God and are full of grace. Outside
that core, however, we´re draped in pride, vanity and sensuality,
or an attachment to the senses, Kane said. On top
of that, each of us has constructed a facade, or
a way we see ourselves and want others to see
us, even though this is probably not how God see
us, he said.
God has to drill through both
these layers to get to our cores, and he does
so by sending his grace to us through the sacraments,
Kane said, noting the sacrament of reconciliation is the one
that best fights pride, vanity and sensualism. With freedom from
sin, pride, vanity and sensualism, we are free to be
better individuals, spouses, siblings, parents and employees, Kane said before
concluding his presentation with a challenge.
"Commit to hit
confession twice before Easter, and take along whoever you can,"