Mass is best ‘support group,’ says Bishop Jenky at Erin Feis

Photo Caption: Bishop Jenky greets one of the hundreds who attended the Aug. 25 Mass on the grounds of the Erin Feis on the Peoria riverfront.

By: By Tom Dermody, The Catholic Post

The Mass is the best “support group” and the sacrament of reconciliation “the very best therapy,” Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, told hundreds of Catholics attending an outdoor Mass last Sunday on the grounds of an Irish festival in downtown Peoria.

In a homily analyzing “our therapeutic culture” with its readily available professional counselors and support groups offering so much valuable assistance to those in need, the bishop urged that we not deny the reality of human sin.

“Not all of our human problems are the result of a bad diet, a lack of exercise, or not being in touch with our feelings,” he told an assembly that spilled out the edges of a large performance tent at the Erin Feis. “An endless ocean of human misery, and the cause of terrible suffering for others is the sheer malice of seeing the good, and then freely choosing the wicked.”

The annual liturgy is coordinated by the Ancient Order of Hibernians. Those attending, many dressed in green, brought canned goods for area food pantries as admission to the festival grounds.

Bishop Jenky asked all Catholics to regularly confess their sins, do penance, amend their lives, and then share the Good News that “Christ is the antidote for sin and sadness, bringing hope and promise to our darkest moments and places.”

“When we come to Mass, we should always invite others to come with us — children and grandchildren, neighbors and friends, even those living on the margins of Christianity,” said Bishop Jenky.

But he also reminded that God is “God both of mercy and of judgment” and that his “commandments are not optional.” Too often today’s “popular liberal Christianity” emphasizes Christ’s many kind words but ignores his hard sayings.

“There is no right or wrong” in their teaching, he said, “no judgment, and certainly no punishment for deliberate sin.”

Calling to mind St. Patrick, patron saint of Ireland, Bishop Jenky noted he titled his autobiography “Confessions” because “he considered himself to be a pentitent, someone in need of mercy and forgiveness, someone still in the lifelong process of conversion.”

“We are all unfinished saints,” he told the assembly. “We are all sinners, so we should all become penitents. And the good news is that God will forgive us, if only we turn to him.”

Editor’s note: For a full text of the homily, click here.

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