Why are we having a Parish Mission?
It is customary for every parish to invite a missionary priest to preach a Mission once every three years. The special goal of the Mission is threefold: (1) to help fallen away Catholics return to their faith, (2) to convert tepid souls to fervor, and (3) to encourage pious souls in their good resolutions to serve God. Just as Jesus and His Apostles went from town to town preaching the Kingdom of God, so the missionary comes to your parish to encourage you to give up sin and to practice your Catholic faith better.
What is a Parish Mission?
A Parish Mission is one of the extraordinary apostolates of the Catholic Church. It is a series of sermons concerning salvation and the means of persevering in God’s grace and friendship. The sermons work together as a whole, so it is important to attend them all in order to derive the most profit from the Mission. The Missionwill enlighten your mind with God’s Truth, help to detach your heart from sin, and strengthen your will with the love of God.
What do the Mission sermons discuss?
Hard truths are discussed: sin, the reality of hell, the importance of sacramental confession. But more consoling truths are also talked about: how to persevere in God’s grace and grow in His love; the importance of prayer, devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and especially love for Jesus Christ, our God and Savior.
Who can attend the Mission?
Anyone can come – Catholic or non-Catholic are all welcome. The Mission is especially helpful for anyone who is unable to attend an enclosed retreat in a religious house. However, scrupulous persons should attend the Mission only if they receive permission from their parish priest or confessor.
Can children attend the Mission?
Parents should bring their teenagers to the Mission; younger children may come at the discretion of their parents. Many parishes provide a babysitter in the parish hall so that parents can be less distracted during the sermons.
What is a General Confession?
During the Mission, everyone is encouraged to make a “General Confession” – that is, a confession of your whole life, as a means of preparing you to come closer to God. For someone who has been making bad confessions or sacrilegious Communions, a General Confession is the only way to return to the state of God’s grace and friendship. It clears the slate so you can start over fresh with God. And for pious Catholics, even though you have confessed your sins before, a General Confession is a good way to renew your contrition and hatred for sin, and to come closer to your loving Savior through the sacrament of Penance.
Who is the missionary priest?
He is a Redemptorist Father whose special apostolate is to preach Parish Missions. He comes as an “extraordinary confessor” – that is, he will be unknown to you, so you can make your General Confession to him without feeling embarrassed.
Who are the Redemptorist Fathers?
The Redemptorists were founded in 1732 by St Alphonsus Maria de Liguori, Doctor of the Church and patron saint of all confessors. The goal of the Redemptorists is to preach Parish Missions to the most abandoned souls – those destitute of spiritual aid.
Are there any indulgences attached to the Mission?
Yes. According to the old laws governing indulgences, anyone who attends at least four of the Mission sermons can gain a plenary indulgence. Sick parishioners who are unable to attend may gain a plenary indulgence by praying each day for the success of the Mission. And on the last day of the Mission, rosaries and crucifixes will be blessed with special indulgences, so remember to bring these items with you to be blessed.
Can we record the Mission sermons?
Yes. Although it’s best to listen to them live, recordings can be helpful to remind you of the graces you received during the Mission. Also, sick parishioners unable to attend the Mission can profit by listening to recordings made for them.
How can we prepare for our Parish Mission?
Firstly, pray for the success of the Mission. Then, encourage others (friends, family, neighbors) to attend. Finally, ask God for a true sorrow for sin and a real desire to change your life from sin or tepidity. In this way, you will be preparing yourself and your parish for the extraordinary grace of the Parish Mission.