Priests must preach on the sacrament of reconciliation and the need to reconcile faith and public life in order to set people free from the culture of death, said Bishop Samuel J. Aquila of Fargo, North Dakota, in a message to his priests during the Easter Triduum.
Bishop Aquila urged his priests to preach on the sacrament whenever there are readings from the Gospel, which focus on forgiveness.
“Help our faithful to understand the sacrament and the need for the sacrament. Create a love among them for the sacrament of reconciliation,” he said.
He added that priests must be committed to receiving the sacrament of reconciliation on a regular basis.
“We must admit our own need for that sacrament so that we may grow in holiness, so that we may image more fully Christ the Good Shepherd, the Head of the Church,” he said.
He also asked his priests to “speak clearly to people on the need for faith and public life to be in harmony with one another.
“The Council Fathers in Vatican II tell us to seek the Kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and by ordering them according to the plan of God. The Council Fathers recognize that the great split between faith and public life, daily life, is one of the great errors of our age and it is an error that has only gotten worse in our time,” he said. “It is an error that does not reflect upon one’s actions and what it means to be salt of the earth and light of the world, to bring the good news of salvation into the world.”
Bishop Aquila also reminded the lay faithful and the religious that they must be faithful to the sacrament of reconciliation and to the sacrament of the Eucharist if they want to grow in holiness; he urged them to celebrate these sacraments with regularity.
“Do not excuse yourself from sin,” he said, “but rather pray for knowledge of sin within your life, that you may bring that sin to Jesus Christ and to His great sacrament of mercy.”