With the governor’s “Safe at Home” order and my own fear of going out, I am worried about not being able to get to Confession. I can watch the Mass on TV or live-stream, but in order to go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation, I need to go out, which I don’t want to do. What should I do?Herda-Father-Jerry

First, let me acknowledge your fear. I think we are all a little bit afraid right now. You are right in your decision to not go out. The purpose of the governor’s “Safe at Home” order is to help stop the spread of the virus. We all need to do our part in making sure this does not continue to spread so we can get back to living a normal way of life.

I am very glad to hear that you have been watching the Mass on TV or on your computer. Who would have thought that during this season of Lent we would be asked to fast from what nourishes us the most, the Eucharist? My hope is that this experience creates a great hunger in all Catholics to want to receive the Body and Blood of Christ.

Regarding the Sacrament of Reconciliation, I know Lent is a time when many people desire to receive the sacrament, but this Lent is not like any other. While you may not have the option to go and confess your sins to a priest, you do have the option to pray directly to God. Spend some time in prayer, do a good examination of conscience reflecting upon your sins and then pray the act of contrition. The act of contrition is not a prayer that is restricted to only being prayed during the Sacrament of Reconciliation. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (n. 1452) states, “When it arises from a love by which God is loved above all else, contrition is called ‘perfect.’ Such contrition remits venial sins; it also obtains forgiveness of mortal sins if it includes the firm resolution to have recourse to sacramental Confession as soon as possible.”

Know that God hears your prayers. God wants us to turn away from sin and return to him. If you are truly sorry, God will forgive you and, if you have a serious sin weighing on your heart, the Catechism tells us God will forgive that sin as well if it includes the intention to go to Confession as soon as you can feel safe to do so again.

We are all in this together. Let us pray for one another. In particular, I ask you to pray for our priests. It is very difficult for a priest to not be able to serve his people in the way he is accustomed. So much of being a priest is providing the sacraments and being there for his people, and they are having to do it remotely for now. God bless us, one and all.