Like many priests some of my most moving and touching
experiences have been during the celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
One Saturday afternoon I went to Maji Moto Outstation in Iramba Parish to
celebrate the Eucharist. Since there was no outstation chapel we used the
government primary school. It was a typical hot tropical day. First I sat in the
Headmaster’s Office for those Catholics who wanted to celebrate the Sacrament of
Reconciliation. After about 20 minutes the fifth or sixth person came in
quietly. Then a man’s voice began in Swahili (the national language of
Tanzania): "Bless me Father for I have sinned. It has been 25 years since my
last confession." The moment I heard the words 25 years I felt a surge of
energy, a charge of electricity that I can only describe as the "grace of God."
As the man talked about his past life and his desire to return to God after
these many years, I felt the action of God’s love and mercy so alive in that
small rural school office. I felt moved to be the Lord’s humble instrument of
forgiveness and absolution. Even today I get goose pimples thinking about that
"holy" moment when God our loving Creator was deeply present to one of His or