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April 25, 2016 | Volume 91 Number 13

COMMENTARY

letter of atonementIt’s never too late

This hand-written note was recently mailed to St. Rose of Lima and Korean Martyrs Catholic Church in Hampton along with 100 ounces of silver coins possibly worth $1,500.

The man had, who did not identify himself, used a return address of a Catholic church in Tennessee. Jerry Cranfill, chairman of the parish council, phoned the church office in Tennessee and spoke to the pastor who said he knew nothing about the unexpected gift to St. Rose and Korean Martyrs. He suggested that the church follow the expressed wishes of the giver and help those in need.

There are many possible scenarios of what might have happened to urge the giver to make amends and seekforgivesness. But it is likely that the man had attended a penitential service during Lent and confessed the sin of the 1950s theft to a priest who suggested a penance.

photo: The note was accompanied by a box of silver, above, which arrived at the church by regular, U. S. mail.

The note was accompanied by a box of silver, above, which arrived at the church by regular, U. S. mail.

In taking the action he did he was finally able to release himself from the burden of guilt which had obviously hung over him for more than half a century. It is good to know that it is never too late to seek forgiveness and receive absolution.

While the Hampton parish is planning to have the silver coins assessed by a professional silver dealer to know their full value, the important thing, Mr. Cranfill feels, is that a sinner has come back to the Church, expressed his sorrow for sin and wanted reconciliation.

The important thing for all of us is that the sacrament of penance is always available to help us better live the Christian life. Besides, we always feel better when we release ourselves from any burden. We know that God loves us and this is one way He expresses that love.

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