Form II of Sacramental Reconciliation, commonly known as “communal” reconciliation with individual confessions, seems to get a lot of attention in my new parish. The pastor told me they do it “several” times a year here. I had a personal first a few nights ago. For the first time outside of Lent, Advent, or a retreat (or similar experience) I was part of a form II celebration. Either because of or in spite of the lack of a seasonal or spiritual agenda, it was quite a moving and fruitful time.
The summer student interns plan and promote various Wednesday night liturgies during the vacation months. They had adoration & benediction the other week. Evening prayer is next week.
But this week’s event was form II. Our community is fortunate to have two priests on staff, a retired priest in the neighborhood, plus a young priest from overseas who is studying here (I think). So the externals were four confessors, a gospel reading (Luke 15:11-32), bookend music, a guided meditation, a silent, written examination of conscience, and lots of reflective time.
When I was chatting with some students afterward, I checked my phone–it was 10:32. That was over ninety minutes past starting on time. The pastor said upfront we were going to take our time with this liturgy. I’d say we prayed for about 80-85 minutes. Didn’t seem we were there that long.
It adds another convincing experience that the real enemy of good liturgy is neither liberal or conservative, but pragmatic. Too many priests I’ve known have been otherwise good liturgists, but they don’t let go of certain expectations, especially those regarding time.