While Catholics flocked to Easter ceremonies in greater numbers than ever in Brisbane Archdiocese this year, many stayed away from individual reconciliation.
   With an effective ban on the Third Rite of Reconciliation, which includes general absolution, parishes tried other ceremonies, in some cases for the first time. Individual confession was also offered.
   Some priests told The Leader they were concerned about what would happen when there were no longer sufficient priests to offer individual reconciliation.
    In St Stephen's Cathedral, a Second Rite of Reconciliation was "fabulous", administrator Fr Peter Dillon said. "People have told us how much they appreciated the rite's communal liturgy," he said. "But it is extremely difficult to get enough priests for individual reconciliation with the priest shortage, so there were queues. But people do also leave it to the last week for reconciliation."
   Fr Dillon said the response to Easter liturgies was "huge - I can think of no other word". "
   The smallest number was 700 for the 8am Mass on Easter Sunday," he said. "Archbishop Bathersby said he had not seen so many people in attendance since he arrived in Brisbane. "I think one reason is the difficulties the Church has had lately as aired in the media. People came out to show their support. "
   There are some people we see only twice a year and I've invited them to do it every Sunday and assured them they will feel just as good."
   "The cathedral had what Fr Dillon thought was its biggest number of RCIA candidates - eight for baptism and two for confirmation.
   Head of the Australian Catholics Advocacy Centre, Sydney barrister Paul Brazier, whose organisation has reported the activities of priests and bishops to Rome, attended a Mass for Forgiveness for sins at Loganholme.
   Parish priest Fr Gary Russell described the Mass as a votive Mass from the Roman Missal, with a focus on the Eucharist as the Christian community's "source and summit" and its relation to the forgiveness of sin.
   Fr Russell said Mr Brazier had made himself known and had reportedly said he enjoyed the Mass. Individual confession was offered, but Fr Russell said he had few takers, one penitent at one session, eight at another.

1:58pm 9/4/99 / Catholic Leader


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