Last Chance Saturday

NYC Holy Week Mission Day 7 – Holy Saturday

St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral, SoHo.  Some of our missionaries like to refer to Holy Saturday as “Last Chance Saturday”, i.e. the last chance before Easter to get in that Confession you’ve been promising us you’d do all week.  And for those of you keeping up on the blogs with the variety of the souls who’d promised to return, please read on….

Jesus Returns for Confession

A young man hurries by the corner.  Catholic.

“Excuse me, sir, would like a rosary?”

“Sure, thank you.”

“Me, too”, says the girlfriend.

As we untangle the desired blue and white ones, the tricky topic of confession comes up.

“Well….  It’s been a while.  No thanks.”

Further spirited discussion ensues, with seemingly little progress.  Then the missionary remembers he forgot to ask the man’s name.

“Hey-zus,” he replies in Spanish.

“What?  You’re killing me here!  You mean to tell me your name is ‘Jesus’ and you’re not going to go to confession?!?!?”

Further discussion.  Jesus promises to come back to confession as soon as he completes his errand.

“Jesus, we’re talking about eternity here and you’re focusing on getting to the hardware store before it closes?”

“I promise, I’ll be back.”

The missionary and Jesus have themselves a big hug out on Prince and Mott “to seal the deal.”  Then Jesus heads out into the gathering storm.

An hour later, the missionary is engaged within a flood of people moving through the corner.  “Catholics here?  Any Catholics?”  Jesus maneuvers around the bustle and makes eye contact through a gap in the crowd.

“Thumbs up!  I did it!”, he smiles broadly.

Jesus returned for confession.

I am Catholic

A crowd passes by.  “Catholics, any Catholics?”

“No, not interested!”

“No way, no how!”

“No, thank you!”

“Ha! Ha!  That’s pretty funny.”

A minute later, Ann returns.

“By the way, I am Catholic.  And yes, I’d like to go to confession, please.”

Thank you for finding me

Amidst a large crowd, one of the missionaries spots Stephanie.

“Excuse miss, you look Catholic.  Are you Catholic?”

“Yes, how did you know that?”….

“Confession?  I went to confession last December.  Do you think I should go again?”

“What do you think, Stephanie?”

“That I should go again…”

“But not right now.  I’ve got to get to the store to exchange something.”

“Stephanie, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard excuses like that.  I’m telling you, it’s the Devil trying to steer you off course.”

“Ok.  I promise.  I’ll be back.”

She heads east, toward the Bowery.

Then, an hour later, Stephanie emerges from the north and the Basilica.  Glowing.  She gives the missionary a big post-confession hug.

“Thank you.  Thank you for finding me.”

Two Catholics and a Lutheran

Three well-dressed young ladies on their way to coffee stop for a rosary and a chat.  Among them is a Lutheran, who is surprised when the missionary also gives her a rosary.  Eventually, the sacrament of reconciliation comes up….

“Well, no, we haven’t done that since our confirmations,” the two Catholics mutter.  “Should we?…”

“But we’re on our way for coffee….”

“What would we say?”…

“But Jessica is with us and she’s Lutheran.”

“Ok. We need to think about it.  We’ll be back.”

After coffee, they return.

“Can Jessica really go to the priest?”

“Of course.  He’ll listen to her sins, and then give her some advice and a blessing.  He can’t absolve her, that’s up to God.  But he can listen and advise.  And he can bless her.”

“But how do we know what is a sin?”

“You know what sin is if you think about it hard enough.  It’s whatever you’ve done that is creating a wall between you and God.  Examine your conscience.  Your soul and its conscience are made in His image.  Your conscience knows. …  And… the ladies in the back of the church can help you get ready if you feel you need help.”

So in they march.  Two Catholics and a Lutheran.

Cory Floats Back

Late in the afternoon, out in the crowd, a young woman shouts out the name of one of the missionaries.  He turns in her direction.

It’s Cory, “a promise to return” person from earlier in the week.  But this time, she’s glowing and has a skip in her step.  In fact, she’s floating.

“I’m back!  I did it!  I feel so great!”

The Prodigal Daughter Returns

On Good Friday, the missionary in the back of the church spent nearly ½ an hour with a young woman from the Philipines who’d not been to confession in a long, long time.

Together, they do an examination of conscience.   Afterward, Lucy declares she’s still not ready.  She takes a guide to confession and says she’ll be back.

Today, in mid-afternoon, Lucy re-appears.

“I’m back!  I’m ready now!”

Not quite the Return of the Prodigal Son, but something like it.

A missionary

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