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Dear Priests, Deacons, Religious and Faithful of the Arch- diocese of St. Louis,

As we approach the first anniversary of the election of Pope Francis, we recall his words at last year’s World Youth Day, to the young people of the world regarding the Sacrament of Penance, “Put on Christ: He awaits you in the sacrament of Penance, to heal by His mercy the wounds caused by sin. Do not be afraid to ask God’s forgiveness! He never tires of forgiving us, like a father who loves us. God is pure mercy”.

As the season of Lent draws near, it is a time to reflect upon the suffering, death and resurrection of our Lord, Jesus Christ. It is also a time for all of us to experience the Fatherly love that supported and gave strength to Jesus, as He faithfully accepted God’s will that would eventually lead Him to His Cross.

We experience this supportive love of God when we par take of the sacraments, especially the sacraments of Holy Communion and Reconciliation. Reconciliation is a wonderful opportunity to turn away from sin and draw closer to our Lord.

During the season of Lent, the parishes in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, in conjunction with “The Light is ON for You” USCCB’s campaign, are joining together to offer numerous opportunities for the faithful to receive the Sacrament of Penance.

Starting with the first day of Lent, a full listing of dates, times and locations where the Sacrament of Penance will take place, can be found on our website at archstl.org. If you click on “The Light is ON for You” icon, there will be multiple resources and information provided. (FYI: St. Ann will have a penance service on Wednesday night, April 2nd.)

This Lenten season, I encourage each of you to join the thousands of faithful who have come to experience the healing and transforming love of Jesus Christ with hearts set on fire in years’ past.

I ask you to pray for those who have been away from this sacrament for a number of years; may they be open to receive this outpouring of God’s mercy and grace through this sacrament of forgiveness, as we journey through “The Light is ON for You,” initiative.

Be assured of my prayers for you and your loved ones throughout this Lenten season. I ask you to remember these recent words from Pope Francis’s 2014 Lenten Mes sage: “The Gospel is the real antidote to spiritual destitution: wherever we go, we are called as Christians to proclaim the liberating news that forgiveness for sins committed is possible, that God is greater than our
sinfulness…”.

Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson,
Archbishop of St. Louis

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