Immediately following our Penitential Liturgy at the start of Advent (Wednesday 2nd December) there was an extraordinary response from the student body to the new format and offering of the Sacrament of Reconciliation (see below for more).
Rhetoric – the most senior students, in the college – were offered the opportunity to make their individual confession and receive the sacrament and they responded in record numbers with well over two thirds of the year – in excess of 50 students remaining behind to avail of this opportunity. On Thursday and Friday students from the other years came to the Boys’ Chapel during their RE class period and attended confession – again in record numbers – amounting to 90% of the student body.
It has been absolutely heart-warming to see how openly and maturely the boys have responded to this new streamlined initiative around this primary sacrament of our faith. With outside priests coming in in to assist and a very prayerful atmosphere in the chapel this initiative has also offered the students a moment of tranquility and respite, from the hectic bustle that is an ordinary day in their Clongowes life.
On Wednesday, 2nd December we held our annual Advent Reconciliation Service in Clongowes. Led by Mr Niall Leahy SJ the whole school came together in the Sports Hall at 9.15pm for a 30 minute liturgy exploring the nature of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and the ‘Why’ of going to Confession. Using the media of film, music and the spoken word this liturgy attempted to express in a modern and contemporary manner this underutilised and – for some – unfashionable, but primary sacrament of our Catholic faith.
We are rolling out this new initiative around the Sacrament of Reconciliation for the students this year in Clongowes, in response to Pope Francis’ call for 2016 to be The Year of Mercy, with a particular focus on the grace of God in our lives. We hope to give the boys a very different, beautiful and ultimately meaningful liturgical experience of this intrinsically restorative sacrament of our church.
Mr Cyril Murphy, Director of Liturgy